A mathematical process for encoding plaintext information into an unreadable text (ciphertext) that only authorized users can convert back into the original plaintext.

Encryption schemes use a computer generated random (pseudo-random) numbers for keys that are then used to encrypt and decrypt messages. Direct attacks on encrypted data are possible but, can be mitigated by using longer keys to increase the computational power required to break the encryption. However, most attacks on encryption focus on gaining unauthorized access to keys which makes it critical that secure key management practices are followed.

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