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What are the different types of Cryptography?

Cryptography is part of the business world and people’s lives today — and it looks set to become even more important over time. This process eliminates the risk of third parties accessing digital data and information by encoding them.

And its efficiency is proven: among data security strategies, encryption is one of the most popular.

What is Data Encryption, and how does it work?

Cryptography is a set of techniques designed to protect information so that only the sender and receiver can understand it. It is used in digital communications, such as messaging or online payments.

In general, algorithms are used to carry out the encryption, and for decryption, it is necessary to have access to the key used in the first process.

The basic principle of cryptography is to allow two people to share messages with no third parties involved.

Typically, cryptographic systems use ciphertext (ciphertext) to disguise plaintext (plaintext) based on a key.

Keys and Protocols

Currently, the basis of symmetric and asymmetric cryptography are keys which can be used to encrypt and decrypt information.

As we explained, when the key is symmetrical, it can be used at both ends of the transmission. When it is asymmetric, the encryption and decryption keys are different.

Some examples of protocols are DES, 3DES, AES, IDEA, RC4, TLS, and SSL.

There are also encryption protocols that do not use keys, called HASH algorithms.

They transform text, of any length, into a string of characters of fixed size, unique to identify the original text.

It can be used as a kind of check digit, but it does not allow the reversal of this code to the original text.

We use them when systems store our passwords or compare what we type with the stored password. Some examples of protocols are MD5 and SHA-256.

What are the types of encryption?

Data confidentiality is the main principle of cryptography: and the way to achieve it is with the encryption of information.

The encryption process is often confused with cryptography itself. However, it’s essential to remember that encryption is not a literal synonym for cryptography. Encryption is part of cryptography, and it’s about scrambling information so that it is unreadable to anyone without the correct key.

In this sense, when discussing cryptography, we usually refer to two types: symmetric and asymmetric.

Symmetric encryption

Symmetric cryptography is the most traditional type and probably the system most people are familiar with. This encryption system is performed based on a single key — which is used to encrypt and decrypt a message. Let’s see an example of how symmetric encryption works:

The key is plus 3, and the original message, “HELLO “, was encrypted as “KHOOR “. H (8) + 3 = K (11).

Tensumo’s beginner’s guide

To decrypt, apply the same key/logic, replacing each letter with the third letter after it in the alphabet. Its main application is to protect data at rest, such as databases or hard disks because it is necessary to have a secure channel to transmit the message.

Among its main benefits, symmetric cr stands out for being faster and ideal for protecting data that will remain in a single place. However, the difficulty of securing key distribution stands out as a disadvantage.

The logic is: if there is a secure channel to pass the keys, why not give the message at once? Thus, anyone who intercepts and reads the key can easily decrypt the message.

Asymmetric encryption

Asymmetric encryption uses two different keys for data encryption and decryption. The first is a public key used to encrypt a message, and the second is

a private key used to decrypt it. The main thing to understand is that only a private key can decrypt messages encrypted by a public key.

Asymmetric encryption is applied in various day-to-day operations, such as electronic signatures, emails, or even remotely connecting to a private system.

Your browser’s security protocol (notice the “https://” before the URL) is an example of asymmetric encryption. The main benefit of asymmetric cryptography is that people don’t need any specific security scheme to exchange messages confidentially.

Let’s say that Ryan wants to communicate with George using asymmetric cryptography. He will use George’s public key to encrypt the message. So, after receiving the message, George uses his private key to decrypt the information. That way, no one can intercept and unravel the message between the two — and there doesn’t need to be a secure channel for exchanging keys.

What are the most well-known encryption algorithms?

Despite being summarized in a few types, Cryptography has several algorithms: symmetric and asymmetric. You are probably asking yourself: “why are there so many different algorithms?”

Well, there are a lot of reasons. It depends on where the algorithm is applied. In addition, some are “evolutions” of others, correcting flaws or gaps found throughout the years.

How about checking out the main ones?

RC4 cryptography, short for Rivest Cipher 4, is a stream cipher created in the late 1980s, a symmetric algorithm. This cipher operates on data one byte at a time to encrypt that data.

RC4 is one of the most widely used stream ciphers, having been used in Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocols — now known as Transport Layer Security (TLS). Today, thanks to vulnerabilities that allowed users to break the key in a matter of a minute,

this algorithm is not so widely used.

Another type of symmetric encryption is Twofish, an evolution of Blowfish — so only a 256-bit key is needed. It is very useful and secure, being a finalist in a competition from the American National Institute of Technology and Science, which sought cryptography to replace DES.

DES encryption, which stands for Data Encryption Standard, is also a type of symmetric key — one of the first to be created, dating back to the early 1970s, by a team of IBM developers.

The algorithm converts plaintext in 64-bit blocks into ciphertext with 48-bit keys.

Because of the small key size, it is currently considered insecure for many applications.

Today, DES has been replaced by AES.

Derived from DES, 3DES (or Triple DES) encryption became popular in the 1990s — although today, it is no longer unanimous.

Also worth mentioning, it will become obsolete from 2023 onwards.

Its difference from the predecessor is that it uses 3 keys of 64 bits.

RSA encryption is an asymmetric type. The acronym refers to the name of its creators, Rivest-Shamir-Adleman.

It is widely used today, and its operation has the same explanation as asymmetric cryptography.

It is based on using a public key to encrypt data and a private key to decrypt them.

AES encryption, or Advanced Encryption Standard, is a type of cipher that protects data transfer online. It is one of the best and most secure encryption protocols and is used in countless applications.

In practice, it is a symmetric key, as it uses the same key to encrypt and decrypt the content. It also uses the SPN (Substitution Permutation Network) algorithm, applying multiple rounds to encrypt data.

These rounds of encryption are the reason for AES’s high level of protection: if someone wants to break the encryption, they have to do it for several “rounds”.

In addition, AES encryption has 3 different key sizes, starting from 128 bits, 192 bits, and 256 bits.

What is the importance of cryptography/data encryption for a business?

With the remarkable transformation technology has experienced in recent decades, developers have added much greater doses of security and privacy. With these security protocols present, it is possible to guarantee that all confidential company processes, such as bank transactions, customer data, and employee information, are done more securely within your system.

If this information is leaked, it will cause significant financial and legal damage to your company since laws like GDPR, LGPD, and others have been in force since 2018. We’ve recently talked about how Facebook’s parent, Meta, has been hit with a $275M penalty for breaching European data protection law.

Plenty of cybersecurity threats and legal efforts regarding data protection are still on the horizon. On the other hand, new policies and innovative encryption technologies — such as fully functional data-in-use encryption — are emerging and ensuring the industry is ready to take protection to another level.

About Vaultree

Vaultree’s Encryption-in-use enables businesses of all sizes to process (search and compute) fully end-to-end encrypted data without the need to decrypt. Easy to use and integrate, Vaultree delivers peak performance without compromising security, neutralising the weak spots of traditional encryption or other Privacy Enhancing Technology (PET) based solutions. Follow Vaultree on Twitter (@Vaultree), LinkedIn, Reddit (r/Vaultree) or dev.to. Visit www.vaultree.com, and sign up for a product demo and our newsletter to stay up to date on product development and company news.

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Vaultree’s Encryption-in-use enables businesses of all sizes to process (search and compute) fully end-to-end encrypted data without the need to decrypt.

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