Why ALL Web Users Should Care About Encryption

While technology continues to develop, it is inevitable that cybercrime will in-turn advance. Research carried out by IBM shows that 48% of data breaches today are malicious attacks and while this is definitely bad news for businesses (malicious attacks are extremely expensive to rectify), it is equally as nerve-racking for individuals. In July 2016 it was reported that cybercrime has surpassed all crimes within the United Kingdom, pretty scary considering the majority of cyber crime still goes unreported...

As information is becoming more virtual, encryption is becoming more essential - not only for large corporations, but for the everyday internet user such as me or you. Personal information like bank details, family pictures or that cheeky selfie for a certain someone can now be sucked up into the cloud and easily accessed by a third party. This scary idea that anyone can access your private information is why the use of encryption is so crucial to internet users.

Encryption is the most effective way to achieve data security because it provides protection for your files, personal information and images, browsing history, internet searches and downloads. Let's look at it this way, you lock your house to protect your belongings against criminals so why not encrypt your online data to protect yourself from being hacked?

Cybercrime has a higher chance of affecting you than any other crime because you as the internet user don't only face local criminals but criminals from all over the world. Plus, it is possible for these attackers to afflict users immediately and simultaneously. Privacy is not only about the four walls of your home, but should exist in all forms of communication you make. This is why encryption is not only important, but necessary.

Encryption is now becoming more popular among social internet users with apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger offering to encrypt users' messages. VPNs, such as ZenMate's, offer a wider range of protection that guarantee your information is kept personal.

Yet the threat of encryption becoming weakened is very real. Government bodies such as the US seek to weaken encryption in order to access personal smartphone data, most notably in the Apple vs. FBI case surrounding the San Bernardino shooting in 2015. Meanwhile, Theresa May's conservative government seeks to critically undermine encryption in the UK through the 'Snooper's Charter' that is set to pass later this year.

These government bodies stress that gaining access to encrypted communication is in the name of the greater good, meaning to stop terrorists and crime. Since the brutal attacks in Paris and San Bernadino in late 2015, this violation has almost become accepted. Yet our right to privacy should not be compromised through mass surveillance, especially since there is no evidence that suggests access to encrypted messages would have stopped these attacks.

Amit Yoran, president of the RSA, argued earlier this year that 'weakening encryption is solely for the ease and convenience of law enforcement when they are pursuing petty criminals. No credible terrorist or nation state actor would ever use technology that is knowingly weakened.' This emphasises that the weakening of encryption only benefits the Big Brother world that we are closer than ever to in 2016.

The debate surrounding encryption is so important for us as social internet users because it is our right to privacy that is at stake. What gives corporations or governments the right to listen, track and invade our personal e-mails, pictures, thoughts and ideas? The thing is, they don't and that's why encryption is important for everyone.