Wikipedia defines Encryption as follows

In cryptography, encryption is the process of encoding a message or information in such a way that only authorized parties can access it and those who are not authorized cannot. Encryption does not itself prevent interference, but denies the intelligible content to a would-be interceptor


So how does this occur?

In public-key encryption schemes, the encryption key is published for anyone to use and encrypt messages. However, only the receiving party has access to the decryption key that enables messages to be read.[2] Public-key encryption was first described in a secret document in 1973;[3] before then all encryption schemes were symmetric-key (also called private-key).

The Public Key is not something that necessarily needs to be safeguarded, and in fact, it usually isn’t. When people or organizations (like news agencies) want to receive sensitive encrypted data, they will send their public key out to people, who can use it to encrypt the data and send it to the holder of the private key.

Once the Private Key holder has the encrypted data (again, encrypted with the public key), then that person (and only that person) can decrypt the message.

Public Keys can be published to key servers for sharing with others, allowing them to send you encrypted messages or files. 

Some Key servers are listed below: 






A list of servers including those that should be avoided or that have been withdrawn can be found <HERE>

The Public Keys for our various departments can be found <HERE>


  • How encryption works and how it can be bypassed (WSJ) -
  • Encryption Part 1 (Shane Killen) -
  • Encryption Part 2 (Shane Killen) -
  • Encryption Part 3 (Shane Killen) -

Research Links and More Reading

  • How does encryption work and is it really safe -
  • How does encryption work -