Encryption is a type of defense used that encodes or enciphers a message so that the true meaning or contents of that message are not obvious. It disguises the data so that it is not easy to read, modify, or fabricate. Encryption plays a subtle yet important role in one’s everyday life with a primary example being electronic money and transfers.
When a user sends money to another user via applications like Venmo, the monetary transfers are encrypted to ensure that user information is protected. Some examples of user information that are kept secure are account numbers and transaction numbers (Venmo). However, even before the transaction takes place, there are security measures taken to authenticate a user and validate their identification and bank account information using. Once those details are verified, Venmo also uses encryption to protect user’s account details in secured servers (Venmo). In addition to credit card authorization and user verification, digital signatures can also be used to replace traditional signatures and adds another layer of confidentiality.
Apple Pay and Apple Wallet use similar encryption techniques to protect user data during transactions. According to Apple, when users add a credit or debit card, Apple decrypts that data, determines the card’s payment network, and re-encrypts the data with a key that only the payment network can unlock (Apple). It goes a step further when the card is approved, because the bank/ service provider creates a device specific account number, encrypts that number and sends to it Apple to help store the payment information safely, without Apple actually having access to the account or user information directly.
The integration of encryption into systems and applications has become more common. Cryptography and encryption are being built into applications with security in mind. In the cases of the aforementioned electronic money transfer apps, it’s being supplemented with a security-in-depth approach to better protect sensitive user and account data.