Extra security steps
Te whakamahi i te whakamuna e noho haumaru ai ō raraunga

Use encryption to keep your data safe

Data encryption is something you might use without even knowing about it – for example, when you set a PIN on your mobile phone or a password to unlock your laptop.

What it is

Encryption is a method of converting data in human readable form into a secret code.

How it works

There are many different types of that you interact with every day.

Websites and HTTPS

Encryption (also called asymmetric key encryption) is used when websites are set up to use . You can tell a website uses HTTPS by looking at, or double clicking, the in your browser.

When you access a website using HTTPS, all the information you enter in to it is encrypted before it's sent back to the website owner. The website owner holds the key to turn the secret code back into human readable form.

If an attacker was able to view the information in that connection, they would only be able to see the secret code.

Device passwords and PIN

Newer operating systems for mobile phones, tablets and laptops ask you to set a PIN or password when you set them up.

This password is used as an encryption key (also called symmetric key encryption) and is needed to unlock and access data on the device.

If someone steals your phone, they would need that secret key in order to unlock the device and access the data.

How to protect yourself using encryption

You’ll often find the option to enable device or data encryption in the settings menu of your device. Search for 'encryption' and it should prompt you to create your key. Depending on your , it might be called something different – for example, on a Mac it might be called 'FileVault'.

Take the same care in creating your device password or PIN as you would with any password – making it unique, long and complex (and store it in a password manager if you have one). If someone else gets access to your key, they could decrypt your device and access your data.

How to create good passwords