It’s worth noting that when encryption is weakened, it’s weakened for everyone. A back door doesn’t just mean that the government can get into your data if they feel they need to. It also means that anyone else with some incentive can get into the data. Back doors aren’t just for the government, they’re for everyone that can find them. If encryption is broken so that one party can access it, it’s broken so that everyone can access it.
Presidential candidates have been talking about encryption and security a great deal. Clinton wants a Manhattan Project-like way to break encryption, and Rubio et all want to weaken it with a backdoor. Neither of these are good ideas, especially in light of the sheer quantity of data breaches. Part of the benefit of encryption is ensuring that only the correct people have access to your data. If a store needs to store your credit card number, do you want every minimum wage employee to be able to see it? No, you want the payment processing system to be able to see it and not humans. Otherwise you’re opening yourself up to identity theft.
But how is all of this relevant to renters insurance?
Online Purchases, Encryption, And You
So you’re looking to buy renters insurance online. You look for that secure indicator in the address bar before you input anything, of course. You want to make sure that your personal data that you’re sharing is only going to the company that you intend it to go to. What does that secure icon really mean?
It means that your information is encrypted from your computer to the place you intend it to go, and that no one can read it in the middle. If the security certificate says what it should, you know there’s no one listening in the middle with an MITM attack. That means your information is secure.
Encryption is used to keep that connection secure, but it’s about more than just hiding the contents of your session with the website. Encryption is also used to generate the public-private key pairs that are used to prove that your computer is talking with the server it thinks it’s talking to.
Without getting into a discussion of the mathematics, here’s how it works. EffectiveCoverage.com has a piece of information known only to itself, and a piece of information that it shares with the world. Your computer has two different pieces of information, one public and one private. Those four pieces of information are used to “sign” the connection through a key exchange to ensure that you’re really talking directly to EffectiveCoverage.com.
If encryption could regularly be broken by the government, it could also regularly be broken by identity thieves. A back door or the ability to break elliptic curve cryptography on a regular basis would destroy all security on the internet. Every piece of information you type would be vulnerable to being listened to along the way, and any computer could pretend to be any other computer that it wanted to be, because the public key infrastructure would be just as vulnerable to those same attacks.
When the day comes that all encryption can be broken regularly by the government, it means that the bad guys can do the same. That means that your information is no longer secure on the internet. What if your local hacker stood up a server that claimed to be your landlord’s rent payment system? You would pay that money to the hacker, not to your landlord, and your landlord would wonder why you hadn’t paid. You’d have no recourse if you used ACH, either.
Identity theft and fraud are very real risks. While they can be covered with renters insurance with the correct endorsement, you don’t want those losses to happen in the first place!
Internal Insurance Company Devices
Encryption is standard-issue on devices used by most people at insurance companies and underwriters. Some people are required to take devices with data to meetings, or to work from home, or to be accessible if something breaks while they’re not present.
If encryption were broken, those insurance company executives would be carrying around devices with what amounts to plaintext copies of your information and everyone else’s information. Theft of a device would mean theft of all the data on the device, along with all of the access credentials.
The same goes for the IT departments of those insurance companies, except worse. Routinely, IT departments do not sit down at the console of a server they want to work on. They sit at their own desk, and they fire up a remote desktop session or an SSH tunnel that gets them command line access to the server.
Without encryption, the remote desktop or SSH tunnel is plain text over the internet. That means the login credentials are plaintext over the internet, as well. Even the commands that are being used would be sniffable, and someone could listen to them to determine how to operate a particular machine, how to get the data they want, even how to cover their tracks.
Encryption impacts renters insurance just like it impacts every other aspect of your daily life. The new chip and pin credit and debit cards depend on encryption. The security of your password depends on encryption. Nearly every aspect of modern life depends on encryption, and that’s why it needs to remain strong.
Is HTTPS secure today? Yes, when properly configured. But if state actors can access your data, so can anyone else.
In order to keep your renters insurance and everything else about your life secure, it’s crucial that strong encryption remain strong.
To find out more about how renters insurance can protect you from identity theft, even online, just call (800)892-4308 or click to get covered - whether you need Philadelphia renters insurance quotes online or coverage anywhere else!
Effective Coverage offers the nation's only completely mobile platform to quote and purchase renters insurance right from your phone or tablet in just one minute. Get an online renters insurance quote today and protect your family.