Encryption is a technique to secure websites from prevalent cyber threats. Encryption algorithms like symmetric and asymmetric algorithms keep data intact between the server and the browser.
Encryption algorithms play a vital role in website security. Strong encryption keeps cyber thieves away from the data travelling between the server and the browser. It is said that nearly one out of four IT professionals believe that uncoded information attracts cyber attackers and is deemed as a security vulnerability.
However, there are two types of encryption processes named symmetric encryption and asymmetric encryption. In this short information, we will reveal about each encryption algorithm.
What Are the Different Types of Encryption?
Encryption technology converts plain text into an undecipherable form that makes it obsolete data to hackers, and only an authorized person can decode the text to get its real meaning.
Symmetric encryption and asymmetric encryption are two types of the encryption algorithm. In addition, there are keys like public and private to make encryption effective, which adds privacy and security to the encryption process. Encryption algorithms types are RSA, AES, 3DES, ECC, DES, etc.
#1: Symmetric Encryption: What is Symmetric Encryption?
As the name suggests, Symmetric encryption works on a single cryptographic key that encrypts and decrypts the data. As a result, the encryption process gets smooth and is named symmetric encryption.
In this process, a single key is shared among authorized parties. This type of method is useful when speed matters, low consumption of resources, and data security is required.
Symmetric encryption is an old technique, and it works on a single key, so it becomes tough for hackers to capture data in transit. However, if the key is compromised, then a hacker can encrypt and decrypt the information. Currently, the symmetric algorithm seems like a simple algorithm, but in the past, the German army in world war-2 used it.
What Makes Symmetric Encryption a Great Technique?
Symmetric encryption is a traditional technique that uses low resources to complete the encryption process and does not slow down the internet speed. Symmetric encryption comes with up to 256-bit key size.
A single key is enough to encode and decode the information. It is a fairly fast technique of encryption compared to asymmetric encryption. However, this algorithm still gives a high level of security and is popular among banking and data storage areas. Symmetric algorithm uses mathematical permutations to make the encryption process smoother.
What are Types of Symmetric Encryption Algorithms?
- RC4 (Rivest Cipher 4)
- AES (Advanced Encryption Standard)
- DES (Data Encryption Standard)
- IDEA (International Data Encryption Algorithm)
- Blowfish (Drop-in replacement for DES or IDEA)
- RC5 (Rivest Cipher 5)
- RC6 (Rivest Cipher 6)
- QUAD (cipher)
RC4, AES, DES, 3DES, RC5 and RC6, and QUAD are few algorithms covered under symmetric encryption. We have discussed the most used and popular symmetric algorithms as below.
DES Symmetric Encryption Algorithm:
The DES algorithm is an old-style technique that was introduced in 1976 and created by IBM. The algorithm was made to secure sensitive data and unclassified electronic government information.
Later on, the Federal agency adopted the DES algorithm. The algorithm applies a 56-bit encryption key, and it is based on Feistel Structure, which Horst Feistel developed. DES was used in TLS 1.0 and 1.1 versions.
DES divides 64-block into each two 32-block to proceed with the encryption process. The data encryption process involves steps like expansion, permutation, substitution, XOR operation with a key. Unfortunately, DES was cracked, and it is not in use at the current time. The AES encryption type replaced DES in 2015.
3DES Symmetric Encryption Algorithm:
3DES is an advanced version of the DES algorithm that also uses a 56-bit block key. The algorithm is applied three times to each data block. Therefore, it is named 3DES. The algorithm is generally used for ATM PIN and UNIX passwords. 3DES was also used in TLS versions, OpenVPN and IPsec.
However, Sweet32 vulnerability was discovered later in the 3DES algorithm, and the algorithm was deprecated in 2019 with draft guidance developed by the NIST. TLS 1.3 has also withdrawn support for the 3DES algorithm.
AES Symmetric Encryption Algorithm
The NIST approved AES Encryption Algorithm in 2001, and it is a prevalent algorithm in the current scenario. It comprises different lengths of keys and block sizes. The algorithm works on permutation and substitution.
In this type of algorithm, the data is initially converted into the block, and then the encryption begins with the binding encryption key. The process includes shift rows, mix columns, sub bytes, and round keys (10,12 and 14 rounds).
What Makes AES a Great Technique?
Due to flexibility, rapidness, and security, AES has become popular. It works on longer keys means such keys are hard to crack. In addition, AES is fast algorithm than DES.
AES is wireless security, file encryption, SSL/TLS protocol, Wi-Fi security, VPN, etc. Even the NSA and other government agencies use AES encryption for data protection.
#2: Asymmetric Encryption: What is Asymmetric Encryption?
Asymmetric encryption is the second type of encryption algorithm, also called public-key cryptography, which works on public and private keys. The private key should be kept secret to decode the information; on the other hand, a public key encodes the information.
Thus, asymmetric encryption provides privacy, legitimacy, and non-repudiation. Diffie-Hellman, ECC, El Gamal, DSA and RSA are a few types of Asymmetric encryption. Compared to Symmetric encryption, this encryption technique uses high resources.
However, when a small portion of data security is required, Asymmetric encryption is useful. Earlier, asymmetric encryption slows down transactions, systems, and networks due to larger keys and the involvement of public and private keys.
What Makes Asymmetric Encryption a Great Technique:
Asymmetric encryption works on two keys named public key and a private key, out of which one key is to encrypt the information while the other decrypt it. It ensures about MiTM attack and data spying activities.
In the case of a web server, there is only one key required to be managed. Moreover, key exchanges happen online without any offline efforts. Asymmetric encryption offers authentication means the data encrypted by a public key can only be decrypted by an authorized person having its correct private key. So, both sender and receiver can trust asymmetric encryption. This means authentication is established between two ends.
The 2 Main Types of Asymmetric Encryption Algorithms
1. RSA Asymmetric Encryption Algorithm:
RSA (Rivest–Shamir–Adleman) is a broadly used encryption algorithm invented in 1977. The algorithm’s strength is the prime factorization method. In this method, two large numbers multiply with each other to produce another giant number.
Currently, the 2048-bit RSA key is in use, and it is supposed to surpass 4096-bit soon due to rising computational power and changing technology. RSA uses a public key used for encryption and a private key used for decryption of the information.
The Advantage of Using the RSA Encryption Algorithm:
RSA bears longer keys that give hackers a hard time and are ideal for the web’s shared data. RSA algorithm is a scalable algorithm and comes with different lengths like 1024-bit, 2048-bit, and 4096-bit key length.
Suppose any key seems weak against brute force attack. Earlier, RSA seemed slower encryption until HTTPS/2 came. HTTP/2 makes applications robust and faster by reducing latency and minimizing protocol overhead.
2. ECC Asymmetric Encryption Algorithm:
Two mathematicians proposed ECC (Elliptic Curve Cryptography) in 1985, but their idea was adopted and came into force in the 2004-05 year. ECC algorithm is still using by a few websites, and RSA is still dominating the websites.
ECC algorithm uses shorter keys, which seems faster and secure. Due to small keys, website performance is also impacted, and it can match with longer keys in respect of security with a 164-bit key. A 15360-bit RSA key is equivalent to 512-bit ECC keys, which means ECC with short keys can provide more security faster.
What are The Advantages of Using ECC Encryption Algorithm?
ECC, due to its complex nature, offers stronger security than the RSA algorithm. It is a future encryption method that falls under asymmetric encryption. ECC algorithm is useful for a mobile device where low consumption of power and high data transfers is needed. It uses short keys but with the same level of security as RSA gives with large keys.
Short keys require less power and overhead that makes it a faster algorithm. This type of algorithm is preferable where limited processing power and storage is presented. Due to the use of less time in SSL handshake, SSL/TLS handshake process gets faster; hence, the website loads rapidly.
However, still many servers lack the ECC algorithm, which will support this algorithm soon.
What is Hybrid Encryption: Symmetric + Asymmetric Encryption?
Hybrid encryption means both symmetric and asymmetric encryption are used. Mostly in the SSL certificate, the large amount of data is to be encrypted, and identity verification is needed. Symmetric encryption is useful in rapidly encrypting a large amount of data, but it lacks identity verification, which can be possible with asymmetric encryption.
When it is required to provide strong encryption, to assure users about the website’s authenticity, asymmetric encryption is required. In an SSL handshake, once both the sender and receiver confirm identity, they start data transfer in encrypted form using symmetric encryption with the session key. Thus, SSL/TLS handshake process assures the speedy transfer of huge data between the server and the browser.
Types of Encryption
Methods: What We Hashed Out
Symmetric and asymmetric encryption techniques are beneficial with their special features. We cannot ignore anyone as symmetric follows the speedy transfer of large data while asymmetric encryption allows identity assurance. Below we have differentiated both techniques on their functions and specialty.
|Symmetric Encryption||Asymmetric Encryption|
|It uses a single key for encryption and decryption.||It uses two keys: one for encryption and the second for decryption.|
|It is a simple method of encryption.||It is a bit of a complex method of encryption.|
|It does not cover identity assurance.||It covers encryption, identity assurance and non-repudiation.|
|It does not require much computational power and a faster encryption method.||It requires much computational power and is a bit slower compared to symmetric encryption.|
|Symmetric encryption carries small size of keys like 128 to 256-bit key||Asymmetric encryption uses large keys like 1024-bit to 4096-bit key|
|It is an ideal where a large amount of data requires encryption.||It is an ideal where a small amount of data requires encryption.|
|RC4, 3DES, QUAD, AES, are a few examples.||Diffie-Hellman, ECC, DSA are a few examples.|
|It is a traditional technique.||It is a modern technique.|
Data security is an important part of any business security policy and considering the type of encryption technique is worthwhile. As cryptography takes a new move, new algorithms evolve to Stop Eavesdropping attack and protect the information to improve privacy. We anticipate via this article; you have now understood the logic behind data security and are now aware of how to achieve it by the correct type of encryption.