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Cryptography is essential for preventing cybercrime and ensuring that delicate information does not reach unauthorized people. Sensitive information may entail data on online payments, emails, internet banking, and even private and service message exchange.
There is extensive internet use and, in return, much data on networks, including sensitive information. Therefore, to protect your confidential information from unauthorized personnel, you must implement sophisticated systems to ensure your data’s high privacy level.
What, then, is cryptography, and why is it important? What is encryption, and what does it entail? Why do we need encryption in cryptography? Here is everything you need to know about cryptography.
Cryptography secures information by hiding and converting data in a form only authorized people can read, comprehend, and evaluate.
Cryptography intends to make data unreadable for those who do not have a way to interpret it by changing basic information into modulated data. The converted data is known as ciphertext and isn’t accessible to unauthorized persons. Data available in raw form is known as plaintext.
Cryptography entails the process of encrypting and decrypting data. Three main types of encryption widely used are Symmetric Encryption, Asymmetric Encryption, and Hashing.
Types of Encryption
Encryption is the process of changing readable data into unreadable data. Ciphertext needs decoding first to comprehend it in plaintext. The method of decoding ciphertext is known as decryption.
Here are the three major types of encryption:
In symmetric cryptography, the plain text gets encoded to become unreadable and then encrypted using a key. The key is sent to the receiver, where the encrypted data gets decoded using the same secret key used for encrypting. A single private key locks and unlocks data.
The secret key used in symmetric encryption can be a string of alphabets, numbers, or both. The secret key’s strength depends on key management and the type of algorithm used: the more robust the algorithm, the stronger and longer the private keys.
The secret keys should be kept away from outsiders to avoid the decryption of data from unauthorized personnel. The algorithms commonly used in symmetric encryptions are; Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), Data Encryption Standard (DES), and International Data Encryption Algorithm.
One advantage of symmetric cryptography over other encryptions is that it is fast and effortless to apply.
Drawbacks of Symmetric Cryptography
When an outsider gets hold of the secret key, they can decrypt the encrypted data and, therefore, damage the encryption process. The security key should, thus, be stored safely. Also, the data processing software only works with decoded data; when encrypted data is in this software, unauthorized persons can get confidential information.
Asymmetric encryption is also known as public-key encryption. In asymmetric cryptography, data is encrypted and decrypted using different keys. The encryption key is a public key available to all correspondents utilizing the network. The decryption key is private and is only known to the owner.
The algorithms used in this type of encryption are the Diffie-Hellman and Rivest-Shamir-Adleman (RSA).
An advantage of asymmetric encryption is that you can share your public key with anyone without fear of outsiders hacking your data.
Drawbacks of Asymmetric Cryptography
Asymmetric encryption is slower and more complicated to implement compared to systematic encryption. Also, hackers can use tricky networks to convince you that you are operating a secure connection and that you will give them your private information.
In hashing cryptography, a hash function converts data to a short and unique fixed string known as a hash value. This type of encryption is vital in checking the integrity of information so that your data is left untampered. If data is the same, it generates a similar hash. Also, plain text cannot develop from the hash alone. Once information is encrypted, getting it to its original form is impossible.
Private and public keys are both used in hashing for encryption and decryption. Information encrypted with one key is dependent on the other key for decryption. Any unintended modification of data changes the hash value. In hashing, a secure hash that is hard to invert is needed to avoid hackers getting hold of your private data.
Message Digest 5 (MD5) and Secure Hashing Algorithm (SHA-1) are standard algorithms used in hashing encryption. MD5 and SHA-1, however, are weak, and the SHA-2 algorithm is used in their place.
Drawbacks of Hashing Encryption
One significant disadvantage of using hash encryption is that information from the hash can be decrypted when you use a weak hash. Therefore, sensitive data can get to outsiders due to an invalid hash.
Digital Envelope combines symmetric, asymmetric, and hashing cryptography on a single system. When all three encryptions merge, they develop a highly efficient encryption system, making it hard for hackers to tamper with your information.
Why Implement Cryptography?
Implementing cryptography has many benefits, with the critical purpose being confidentiality. Cryptography ensures that information is confidential by encrypting data. The encrypted data is not accessible to outsiders, so sensitive information is stored privately.
Another objective of cryptography is to ensure there is data integrity. Different types of encryptions verify the integrity of information so that data is untampered within any system which uses cryptography. Furthermore, cryptography offers non-repudiation of data. That means one can invalidate the existence of data security when using cryptography in your system because you can develop evidence to prove them wrong.
Cryptography also ensures that there is authentication in your encrypted system. No one can obtain your encrypted data without giving the correct private keys. Cryptography is, without a doubt, the best to use in your system to protect your information!