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Different types of encryption to secure your data

Data integrity is a sensitive aspect for any organization. When planning for the future, you must focus on reliable measures of secure your data from unauthorized access and fraud. Here we discuss the different types of encryption.

One of the foolproof ways of achieving this is through data encryption. It refers to a series of encoding of confidential data, so that only the individuals that are authorized by the company can access it.

Modern encryption tools use more complex keys to encode and decode data based on some standard algorithms. Only people, or systems, with the key to the algorithm used, can decipher the encrypted data. A four-bit key uses 2^4 or 16 combinations while a 256-bit key uses 2^256 or 1.1 x 10^77 combinations for encrypting, making it stronger.

In encryption schemes, there are two techniques you can employ to ensure data security i.e., Asymmetric encryption and Symmetric encryption.

In this article, I’m going to write about two encryption methods: symmetric encryption and asymmetric encryption.

Types of Encryption

Symmetric Encryption

In symmetric encryption, you use the same key for both encryption and decryption of your data or message. Both the sender and receiver need to have the same key in order to encrypt and decrypt the messages that you may exchange with each other.

Asymmetric Encryption: 

Also called public key cryptography, asymmetric encryption uses two separate keys—one public (shared with everyone) and one private (known only to the key’s generator). The public key is used to encrypt the data and the private key helps to decrypt it.

You use one to encrypt your data, which is called public key, and the other to decrypt the encrypted message, which is called the private key.

In this case, data can be encoded by the public key and data can be decoded by the private key.

Private keys

Your private key, as the name states, is yours and it must be kept private, as it’s the only key that can decrypt any messaged that was encrypted with your public key.

Public keys

Public keys as, yet again, the name states, are public and thus no security is required because of it should publicly available and can be passed over the internet. The public key is used to encrypt a message that can only be decrypted using, as I written above, its private counterpart

Symmetric encryption Use Cases

#1. Banking Sector: The high speed and swifter execution functionalities makes symmetric cryptography a preferred option for encrypting bulk data in the banking sector

#2. Data at rest: Symmetric cryptography is also widely used to secure data stored in hard drives, archives, computers, flash drives, and laptops. These are data that are not involved in the active movement from network to network or device to device.

To protect such data, you can encrypt all the confidential files before storing them or encrypt the entire storage drive.

Asymmetric Encryption Use Cases

Digital Signatures: Digital signatures help detect malicious data modifications and authenticated signatory identities.They can also be used by signed data recipients as proof that the signatures are from the intended signatories.

Now, the digital signatures used here work on Asymmetric cryptography and provide an extra layer of security to messages that are delivered via insecure channels.

What Is End-To-End Encryption?

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Asymmetric and Symmetric Encryption Use Cases

#1. Messaging Apps

Popular messaging apps like WhatsApp are on end-to-end encryption to help safeguard the privacy of communications of the users. The end-to-end encryption used here helps keep the messages out of reach of unauthorized third parties and even the messaging apps themselves.

The end-to-end encryption technology using both symmetric and asymmetric encryption to encrypt conversations.

#2. Public Key Infrastructure

In public key infrastructure, both encryptions are used like asymmetric and symmetric cryptography. Asymmetric encryption is applied to create connections then symmetric encryption will replace asymmetric encryption.

Both types of encryption tasks named as public-key cryptography, which is used to create a secure connection on the public internet.

Both Asymmetric and Symmetric encryption are used in all HTTPS connections between clients and servers use.

Asymmetric encryption is used in establishing connections and then replaced by Symmetric encryption for the entire connection duration, which is known as session.

Google recommends that you switch to HTTPS or it will show insecurity warnings, which may scare off your visitors.

Which types of Encryption is better?

Usually, there are pros and cons of each encryption types.

Symmetric encryption uses only a single key to encrypt and decrypt so there are chances that hackers can intercept the session.

Asymmetric encryption is reliable from a security point of view because both keys are used for encoding and decoding.