The practice of encoding and decoding data is known as "encryption." When data is encrypted, it means that an algorithm has been applied to encode the data so that it is no longer in its original form and therefore can't be read. The data can only be decoded back to its original form by applying a specific decryption key. Encoding techniques are an important part of data security, as they secure sensitive information from threats that include exploitation by malware and unauthorized access by third parties. Data encryption is a versatile security solution: It can be applied to a piece of data such as a password, or more broadly across data in a file, or even across all data contained in storage media.
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