Encryption: Encryption is a process which is applied to patient data or other important data, and alters it to make it humanly unreadable except by someone who knows how to decrypt it.
Encryption is a process that transforms information into an unreadable form unless you have a “cipherkey” to decrypt the data. Encryption software takes information and transforms it into unreadable form until it can be decrypted using the encryption key. In today’s world-wide computer networking, many forms of encryption exist to protect financial, personal, business and military data. Encryption was originally developed by the military for protecting national assets.
In the medical informatics, personal patient data must be protected against unauthorized viewing or changing. Encryption should be a vital part of every biomedical and bio-financial system. Encryption will help protect unauthorized use of information should physical security measure in place fail, such as loss of a laptop.
1 Jeff Tyson, How Encryption Works, http://www.howstuffworks.com/encryption.htm
2 Joan Breuer, Ph.D. Encryption and File Encryption http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid14_gci212062,00.html Public-key cryptography is a cryptographic approach which involves the use of asymmetric key algorithms instead of or in addition to symmetric key algorithms. Unlike symmetric key algorithms, it does not require a secure initial exchange of one or more secret keys to both sender and receiver. The asymmetric key algorithms are used to create a mathematically related key pair: a secret private key and a published public key. Use of these keys allows protection of the authenticity of a message by creating a digital signature of a message using the private key, which can be verified using the public key. It also allows protection of the confidentiality and integrity of a message, by public key encryption, encrypting the message using the public key, which can only be decrypted using the private key. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public-key_cryptography