Transport-Layer Encryption vs End-to-End Encryption


It’s also important for learners to be able to distinguish what the encryption they are using to protect their information does and does not protect against. One way to clarify this conversation is to point out two different types of encryption for their information in transit: transport-layer encryption, and end-to-end encryption.

We created a GIF demo to illustrate the difference between transport-layer encryption and end-to-end encryption. We show a service many participants are familiar with (Google Hangouts over a HTTPS connection), and a tool that may be new to participants (Tor Messenger using an end-to-end encryption protocol called “Off-the-Record” or “OTR”).

As many beginner participants are new to seeing an end-to-end encrypted chat tool like Tor Messenger, we recommend giving learners some context as to what’s happening. You might want to use this GIF for explaining how end-to-end encryption can be helpful in preventing a third-party service from seeing the content of the chat.

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