Most of your online traffic is encrypted through a protocol called SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer. Basically, when you access a website, what’s happening is your client (such as a Web browser) is accessing a server, the computer on which the website’s data is stored. Through the client-server connection, the server’s data comes over the Internet to your screen. This connection is encrypted so that eavesdroppers won’t be able to view sensitive information such as credit card info, IP addresses and account details.
SSL is the method by which many websites, including Amazon.com and Facebook, keep their users’ data secure. If you think of encryption as a lockbox in which your information is stored, the way to open that box is a complex string of ones and zeroes called a 1024- bit key.
Cybersecurity expert Robert David Graham of Errata Security speculates that the NSA is working on better, faster ways to crack 1024-bit keys for the encryption algorithms known as Rivest-Shamir-Adleman (RSA) and Diffie-Hellman (DH).