What Is “Military-Grade Encryption”?

What Is “Military-Grade Encryption”?

by Chris Hoffman, How-To Geek

Many companies tout “military-grade encryption” to protect your data. If it’s good enough for the military, it must be the best—right? Well, kind of. “Military-grade encryption” is more of a marketing term that doesn’t have a precise meaning.

Encryption Basics

Let’s start with the basics. Encryption is, essentially, a way to take information and scramble it, so it looks like gibberish. You can then decrypt that encrypted information—but only if you know how. The method of encrypting and decrypting is known as a “cipher,” and it usually relies on a piece of information known as a “key.”

For example, when you visit a website encrypted with HTTPS and sign in with a password or provide a credit card number, that private data is sent over the internet in a scrambled (encrypted) form. Only your computer and the website you’re communicating with can understand it, which prevents people from snooping on your password or credit card number. When you first connect, your browser and the website perform a “handshake” and exchange secrets that are used for encryption and decryption of the data.

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