What Is Encryption In Cryptography? How Does It Work?

Tons of information is shared on the internet every single day. Leaking of this information can turn the world upside down. Not everything is meant to be seen by everyone. It is where cryptography steps in.

Cryptography makes the internet a safe and secure platform to share information. Without cryptography, you can’t rely on the internet for sharing sensitive information. 

Encryption, which is our main topic today, is the most crucial element of cryptography. It is safe to say that more than half of cryptography’s science can be termed encryption.

You will see the following points highlighted in this thread:

1) What Is Encryption:

2) How Does Encryption Work?

3) Significant Types Of Encryption:

4) Advantages Of Encryption:

5) And the Conclusion.

Without any further delay, let’s start learning:

What Is Encryption?

In simple words, encryption is converting information into a secret code for storing or transferring. If we talk in terms of computing, the method used for converting plaintext into the ciphertext is called encryption. 

Here, unencrypted data is referred to as plaintext. The information we get after the process of encryption is said to be in ciphertext form. Formulas that we use for encrypting data are termed ciphers.  

“Key” is the most critical element of the digital encryption method. Key is basically the variable component of the cipher, which makes the whole output unique.  

Now that you are aware of the basic encryption-related terms, let’s jump to its working model.

How Does Encryption Work?

We know that encryption is the spell that transforms any information into a secret code, but what happens next? If we talk about security, the effort required to decode encrypted data makes encryption a reliable security measure.

If someone is unauthorized and tries to decode encrypted data, they will first guess the cipher. Once they figure out the type of cipher, they will have to calculate the variables used in the cipher.

Mainly, combinations of prime numbers are used as variable keys, which makes guessing quite tricky. It is because prime numbers are hard to guess using any computing tool. 

Therefore, in most cases, unauthorized entities don’t even try decoding encrypted data. 

Major Types Of Encryption:

Based on the cipher used, encryption has two categories:

1) Secret Key Encryption

2) Public Key Encryption 

Let’s learn about each of them in detail:

1) Secret Key Encryption

In this type of encryption, symmetric ciphers are used, which are based upon a single-key model. A receiver must have the key provided by the sender to decrypt the data. As the encrypting computing system is bound to share this key with all authorized receivers, this key is also called a shared secret.

Primarily, this type of encryption is used in small-scale enclosed ecosystems. Governments and militaries have used this type for its efficiency and credibility to store classified data. It is proven by the fact that today the most widely used symmetric cipher is the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). 

Back in history, AES was basically designed for governments to provide top-notch security to classified data. 

2) Public Key Encryption

Public Key Encryption is the type of encryption that we discussed earlier. The risk of a breach at minor levels is relatively low; hence one key can do the job. When we go to more widespread platforms like social media, the need for more complex security layers rises.

A unique combination of prime numbers is created in this encryption. One number is used for the encryption, and the other is sent to the authorized receiver for decryption. 

Factorization of large prime numbers is computationally challenging; hence the encrypted data remains safe from unauthorized decryption.

The most commonly used cipher for this kind of encryption is the Rivest-Shamir-Adleman (RSA).

One thing to bear in mind is that today, a combination of both types of encryption is used in several places. Exchange of key is safer in asymmetric encryption; hence it is used for a secure password transfer, and symmetric encryption is used for turning plaintext into ciphertext.

Advantages Of Encryption:

Till now, encryption has been the most reliable security tool ever introduced for safely storing and transferring digital data. We have listed a few benefits of encryption that makes it the best:

1) Protection Of Data

Without the process of encryption, it is not safe to share any confidential information over the internet. The protection of privacy that encryption provides is definitely its most significant benefit. 

2) Authentication Of Source

Another unignorable benefit of encryption is that you can use it to verify the origin of a message. This benefit is quite advantageous when you are dealing with classified information.

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3) Reliability

If the data is not encrypted, you cannot guarantee that it is not altered during the transfer process. When sending data after encryption, the receiver gets it in its original form. 

It is undoubtedly one of the edges exclusive to encryption. 

Conclusion

Encryption is widely used in different forms due to its credibility and efficiency. Ciphers and keys used in encrypting data make unauthorized decryption nearly impossible. There are two main types of encryption that are used separately or in combinations for protecting and transferring data. 

There are several advantages of using encryption. These benefits include authentication of source, reliability of data, and above all, protection of the data.

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