Unlocking the Secrets of Symmetric and Asymmetric Cryptography: A Comprehensive Guide for Secure Data Encryption

by | Sep 13, 2021 | Networking

Before we get into symmetric and asymmetric cryptography or encryption, you first need to know what encryption and cryptography are. You can click here to read more about encryption and cryptography.

If you decided to not read the above articles for some reason, let’s take a sneak peek into what those words basically mean. The word “cryptography” has been derived from the Greek word “kryptós,” which means “hidden or secret.” Before we get further into it, let’s discuss why we even need encryption in the first place.

Why do we need Encryption?

The concept of encryption is too old. The Kings used to encrypt their messages so that they were hidden from outsiders and could only be read by the person for whom they were written. So the same concept continues to this day. We use encryption to hide the original message from hackers. So even if a hacker manages to get our encrypted message, he does not know what the original message is. You can read more about the history of cryptography if you want to do a deep dive into it on wiki.

Types of encryption

These are two types of encryption.

  • Symmetric Encryption
  • Asymmetric Encryption

Symmetric Encryption

In this encryption method, the same key is used for encryption and decryption. This Encryption method is also known as \”Private Key Cryptography\”. This method utilizes fewer resources for encryption and decryption. In this method, it is necessary to transfer the key through a secure channel. This method uses the same key for encryption and decryption which is why it is less secure. If the hacker manages to get that key then it can read the original message \” Plain-Text\” easily. While encryption, the size of the encrypted message ” Cipher-Text ” will be either equal to the original message “Plain-Text” or less than the Plain-Text. We can transfer a huge amount of data through Symmetric Encryption. Here are a few examples of Symmetric Encryption Algorithms:

  • AES (Advanced Encryption Standard)
  • DES (Data Encryption Standard)
  • RC4 (Rivest Cipher 4)
Symmetric and Asymmetric cryptography - Symmetric Encryption Diagram
Symmetric Encryption Diagram

Asymmetric Encryption

Asymmetric encryption is also known as “public key cryptography.” This method of encryption is more secure than the symmetric encryption method. To encrypt plaintext into ciphertext, the encryption algorithm employs “public-key” cryptography. The decryption function uses the “private key” to decrypt the cipher text into plaintext. This type of encryption is suitable for one-way communication.

Assume you work in an intelligence agency and want your coworkers to send you their daily schedule. You can give them a public key, with which they can encrypt their message and send it to you; you are the only one who has the private key. You will be the only one who can decrypt that message. This is exactly how this type of cryptography works.

The size of the ciphertext will be equal to or greater than the plaintext after encryption. The encryption method is suitable for a small amount of data. Below are some examples of asymmetric cryptography:

  • Elliptical Curve Cryptography (ECC)
  • Digital Signature Algorithm (DSA)
  • Rivest-Shamir-Adleman (RSA)

Difference Between Symmetric and Asymmetric Cryptography

Symmetric CryptographyAsymmetric Cryptography
A single Key is used for encryption and DecryptionTwo Keys are used. One is used for Encryption
and the second key is used for Decryption
Known as Private Key Encryption as wellAlso Known as Public Key Encryption
Secure than Asymmetric EncryptionIt is more secure than Symmetric Encryption
It is Suitable for a huge amount of dataSuitable for small data
It uses fewer ResourcesUse more Resources
Provides ConfidentialityProvides Confidentiality as
well as Authenticity
The size of the Cipher is either smaller or the sameSize is Cipher is Either greater or the same
Difference Between Symmetric and Asymmetric Cryptography

This will be it for this post, but you can always visit our home page to read more about computers. However, you can read more about networks and cyber security by going to the top bar’s category tab and then clicking on networking. The featured image belongs to Pexels.com.