Data integrity holds the most delicate aspect of any organization. It provides the reliability and security of data details over its lifecycle. However, day after day the number of data violations and data-tampering incidents is increasing rapidly. Such an issue commonly takes place as cybercriminals always keep trying in finding new sensitive strategies to victimize internet users. To counter such a problem, there is an encryption technique that protects digital data secretly by converting plaintext to ciphertext. In such a way, only authorized individuals could get access to your message or data and those people who are not authorized, cannot.
For example, you want to send a letter to your buddy stating you miss him but you don’t want anybody else to open and read the message. In this guide, I’m going to explain two different types of encryption in an easy way i.e. Symmetric and Asymmetric encryption.
Difference between Symmetric & Asymmetric Encryption
As it is cleared out that the Symmetric encryption and Asymmetric encryption both are forms of the encryption process. But, the basic difference between these two techniques is that the symmetric encryption uses a single secret key while asymmetric encryption makes use of two different separate keys.
Another point is that asymmetric encryption is relatively slower in the execution process. Since the symmetric encryption is less complicated and executes faster, it infers a better way to transfer data having in large quantities.
What is Symmetric Encryption
As said earlier, symmetric encryption is a form of encryption that uses only one private key to cipher and decipher the data. Such a way of encrypting messages had been widely used in earlier times to have a secret conversation between administrations and armies. It mainly uses a private key that can either be a number, a letter, a symbol, or a sequence of arbitrary characters such as BK5, RU-8. These words are combined with the plain text of a message so that it could change the content in a particular way. Due to having a less complex algorithm, it executes the process faster.
Although it is well said that everything has both aspects, right and wrong. In the same way, symmetric encryption has also a disadvantage of using. And that is, the encrypted data can only be deciphered using the same secret key which the sender has been used to encrypt. In simple language, the sender uses a secret key to encode data before sending the information, right? Now, the receiver should also have the same secret key to decode the enciphered message. Because of having such a simplistic nature, both the operations can be carried out quite fastly.
What is Asymmetric Encryption
Asymmetric encryption is an encryption model that requires a pair of two different key i.e. public key and private key. Since it uses two separate keys, it is also known as the public key cryptography and that’s why it is considered to be more secure as compared to the symmetric encryption.
But here you may think Why does it need two keys? Well, the asymmetric encryption uses one key to encode the data and that is called the public key. And this public key is available to everyone. Whereas the asymmetric encryption uses the private key to decode the encoded data and that must be kept secret.
For example, you send greetings to your beloved one and encrypt the message using a public key then your friend could only decrypt it using the private key which has to you. However, if you encode the message using a private key, your friend will need to have your public key to decode it.
This cryptographic technique is comparatively a new method and it provides higher security. It is because the asymmetric encryption uses two separate keys for the encoding and decoding process. However, one major shortcoming of the asymmetric encryption is that it takes more time than the process associated with the symmetric encryption.
The private key is although used with an algorithm to encode and decode data. But the primary need of this key is to decipher any information that is ciphered using the public key.
In data encryption, this private key is also known as a secret key and it must need to be kept confidential. It means, this secret key never needs to be transferred and thus there is no reason that it can be required by the third party.
As the name infers, this key is available publically. It doesn’t require any security and is mainly used to encode information not to decode.
In this tutorial, I have explained the symmetric encryption and asymmetric encryption along with the examples in a very simple and transparent way.