A method of coding data, using an algorithm, to protect it from unauthorized access. There are many types of data encryption, which are the basis of network security. Encryption is the process of converting data into cipher text to prevent it from being understood by an unauthorized party. When e-commerce merchants need to securely transmit transaction data, including credit card information, they rely on encryption coding data so that only authorized parties can access it. Converting this regular data into ciphered (encrypted) data makes it difficult for an unauthorized third person to intercept the data and use it for illegal purposes. And even if the encrypted data is intercepted by a hacker, they’ll be unable to decode the information without the decryption key. The major data breaches of 2017 — including the exposure of the personal data of 143 million Americans — illustrate the importance of merchants encrypting customers’ sensitive information and protecting it from falling into fraudsters’ hands.