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End-to-end encryption

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: TH


Context: End-to-end encryption (E2E) is a method of protecting digital information by transforming it into an unreadable format, and it has significant implications for privacy and security.

  • Encryption fundamentally involves changing consumable information into an unconsumable form based on specific rules.


There are two main types of encryptions: symmetric and asymmetric.

  • Symmetric Encryption: In symmetric encryption, the key used to encrypt information is the same key needed for decryption. Notable examples include the Data Encryption Standard (DES) and the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).
  • Asymmetric Encryption: Asymmetric encryption uses different keys for encryption and decryption. A public key encrypts the information, and a corresponding private key decrypts it. The length of the key influences the level of protection. Asymmetric encryption is useful when the sender and recipient are different, providing a higher level of security.


Issues with E2E encryption:

  • E2E encryption is not foolproof. It can be vulnerable to man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks, where an attacker intercepts the key and decrypts the message.
  • E2E encryption may induce user complacency, and other vulnerabilities like malware or backdoors installed by service providers could compromise security.

End-to-end encryption (E2EE) is a secure communication method that prevents third parties from accessing data while it’s transferred from one device to another.