Encryption is a word that has been used quite a bit as of late, especially when concerning the Apple vs. FBI case to open the iPhone of an alleged shooter and popular messaging apps like WhatsApp. While it is key for users' privacy, many still don't know exactly how it works.
Mozilla is making it easy to learn all about encryption — with the help of emojis — in a new web-based tool called Codemoji, which breaks down all the basics for users.
Developed by the company responsible for Firefox in collaboration with the Italy-based design and creative agency TODO, Codemoji is essentially a fun game where friends must decipher hidden messages that are displayed as emojis. However, at its core, it is an educational tool that teaches about ciphers, which are the building blocks of encryption, without having to know anything about algorithms.
Mozilla wants users to learn about encryption because it believes it's "the most important tool we have for building a more safe, secure internet."
"When more people understand how encryption works and why it's important to them, more people can stand up for encryption when it matters most," the company's Executive Director Mark Surman said in a blog post. "This is crucial: Currently, encryption is being threatened around the world. From France to Australia to the UK, governments are proposing policies that would harm user security by weakening encryption. And in the U.S., the FBI recently asked Apple to undermine the security of its own products."
The company hopes that Codemoji will help users have a better understanding of how encryption works and how important it is for our online presence in terms of things like messaging, banking and shopping.
Here's how it works:
After launching the web platform, the user starts by writing a message and selecting an emoji that will be used to decode it. The tool then scrambles and replaces the original text with emoji characters before it is sent to a friend via Facebook, Twitter or email.
The recipient will not be able to figure out the message just by looking at the emojis. The characters are displayed in a random pattern based on the emoji key selected. The recipient will then have to guess which of the emojis is the key in order for the message to appear. It's best to give the friend a hint of this emoji in order to help them solve it.
While sending messages via Codemoji may be fun, Mozilla said that it should be used strictly as a learning tool, so don't go sending private data this way. Leave those message for other platforms that have stronger and more secure encryption tools.