Encryption refers to encoding and decoding data such that it can’t be read easily. In computers, encryption is usually done by an algorithm that applies a large sequence of numbers that follow a specific pattern to each letter or number of the text string. Encoding and decoding the encrypted data requires what is known as a ‘key.’
One can encrypt something as simple as a password and as complex as a giant database of health records.
Websites can also be encrypted – so that requests and data passed and sent to from them are encrypted.
To use the web safely one needs to get in the habit of identifying websites that use encryption. One can tell this by seeing if the URL begins with “https” NOT “http”.
The “s” stands for secure. This means that any information you enter on that website’s forms or login fields is encrypted before it is passed from you over the internet to that website’s servers.
NEVER enter information on a website that is not using encryption. Doing so means you would be passing things like your username and passwords over the web in easily-read text. This is easy for a hacker to ‘sniff’ and steal.