Process of converting plaintext into ciphertext.
The process of encoding data to prevent unauthorized access, especially during transmission. Encryption is usually based on one or more keys, or codes, that are essential for decoding, or returning the data to readable form. The U.S. National Bureau of Standards created a complex encryption standard, Data Encryption Standard (DES), which is based on a 56-bit variable that provides for more than 70 quadrillion unique keys to encrypt documents. See also DES.