December 1, 2022

Symmetric Vs Asymmetric encryption

Nowadays we know data is the most important aspect of our life, being it personal, economic or commercial. As we increasingly use online, data is always at risk. In spite of all the best efforts made, there are possibilities that your computer is infected with malware, ransomware or any cyber criminals that your antivirus cannot detect. Malware sends sensitive data on your computer and sends it to the cybercriminal running the malware. It is supreme to keep data secure. This is where technology comes into place. Technology makes it difficult task for hackers to data breaches. We have to rely on encryption software keeping cyber criminals from reaching our data. Encryption helps in keeping our data private and protected. It acts as a lock from cybercrime, providing an extra layer of protection in safeguarding our critical credentials. Encryption secures our data from hackers reading our information.

What is encryption?

Encryption is the process of converting plain readable form text to an unreadable form text so as to protect data or a conversation between two parties or from an unauthorized person. Data encryption ensures the confidentiality of data by converting it into coded information known as ciphertext, which further, can only be decrypted with a unique decryption key generated either during or before encryption. Data encryption can be used during data storage or transmission, and is usually used in conjunction with authentication services to support keys.

Various types of encryptions are Manual Encryption, Transparent Encryption, Symmetric Encryption and Asymmetric Encryption.

What is Manual Encryption?

Manual encryption are computer programs that digitally encrypt multiple pieces of data. Manual encryption involves extensive user involvement. The files which have to be encrypted are selected and the encryption type is to be selected from the list supported by the security system

What is Transparent Encryption?

Transparent encryption provides permanent file-level encryption, protecting against unauthorized access by users and processes in physical, virtual and cloud environments. The application is seamless and transparent to applications/databases and storage. It can run across an enterprise environment and keep both business and operational processes unchanged. It is one of the most secure encryption types available because it misses nothing when using manual encryption. Every executable application and file created on the computer has an encrypted copy that can withstand power surges and protects data even if the computer is stolen.

What is Symmetric Encryption?

Symmetric encryption is a simple, easy-to-use method of encryption. This encryption is also called secret key encryption. It uses only one key called shared key, for both encryption and decryption of electronic data. With symmetric encryption, communicating units must exchange a key to use it in the decryption process. In symmetric encryption, data is “encrypted” so that it cannot be understood by anyone who does not have the secret key to decrypt it.

The secret key is generated by a secure random number generator (RNG). The main issue that can be found while using symmetric encryption is that the key is shared between the sender and the recipient of the data. So it is important to be cautious about maintaining a secure method of key exchange, else there are possibilities a third party intercepts the key during the exchange and an unauthorized person can easily decrypt the data.

What is Asymmetric Encryption?

Asymmetric encryption, also called public key encryption, relies on a key pair. In this method, two mathematically related keys are created; one called the public key and the other called the private key. The private key is never shared; it is kept secret and used only by the owner. Public key is shared with anyone who wants it.

The advantage of asymmetric encryption is that a secret key is not transmitted. Instead, the public key is published openly.

Difference between symmetric and asymmetric:

Symmetric Encryption

  • For both encryption and decryption one single key is used.
  • The Ciphertext size is either the same or smaller than the original text.
  • The process of encryption is fast.
  • Confidentiality is provided.
  • Normally used while transferring large amounts of data
  • Key length: 128 or 256 bits
  • More efficient as a large amount of data is used
  • Comparatively less secured, as one key is used
  • Algorithms: RC4, AES, DES, 3DES, and QUAD.
  • Asymmetric Encryption

  • Two keys: the public key and private key are used, one to encrypt and the other one to decrypt.
  • The Cipher text size is either the same or larger to the original text.
  • The process of encryption is slow.
  • confidentiality, authenticity, and non-repudiation are provided.
  • Normally used while transferring small amounts of data
  • Key length: 2048 bits or above
  • Comparatively less efficient as a large amount of data is used.
  • More secure, as two keys are used: one for encryption and the other for decryption.
  • Algorithm: RSA, Diffie-Hellman, ECC.
  • Examples of Symmetric and Asymmetric Encryption:

    Symmetric: Blowfish, AES, RC4, DES, RC5, RC6, A5/1, A5/2, FISH, Helix, ISAAC etc

    Asymmetric: EIGamal, RSA, DSA, Elliptic curve techniques, PKCS, PGP etc

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