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What is encryption and what is the difference between 40- and 128-bit encryption?
Encryption is the scrambling of information as it is transmitted over the Internet to protect your confidentiality. There are two levels of encryption in general use: 40-bit and 128-bit. With 40-bit encryption, there are billions of possible keys to decipher the coded information, and only one of them works. The effectiveness (or level of security) for encryption is measured in terms of how long the key is -- the longer the key, the longer it would take for someone without the correct “decoder” to break the code. This is measured in bits: 40-bit encryption, the level of encryption used with many ordinary browsers.
With 128-bit encryption, there are 300 billion trillion times as many keys as with 40-bit encryption. It is virtually impossible for an unauthorized party to find the right key, even if they are equipped with the best computers. 128-bit encryption is the strongest form of encryption available for financial or confidential transactions over the Internet today.