Cryptography is procedures used to encrypt communication and shield data from unwanted access or modification. Data is converted into an unintelligible format known as Ciphertext using mathematical algorithms and encryption techniques, which can only be decrypted by authorized parties with the correct decryption key.
How does Cryptography work ?
Encryption is a fundamental aspect of cryptography. It involves converting plaintext (original readable data) into Ciphertext using an encryption algorithm and a secret encryption key. The encryption algorithm applies complex mathematical operations to scramble the plaintext, making it unreadable and unintelligible to anyone who does not possess the decryption key.
- 1.1 Symmetric Encryption
Symmetric encryption, also known as secret key encryption, uses the same key for both encryption and decryption processes. The key is shared between the sender and the recipient, who must keep it confidential to maintain the security of the communication. Symmetric encryption algorithms are generally faster and more efficient than asymmetric encryption algorithms but require a secure method of key exchange.
- 1.2 Asymmetric Encryption
Asymmetric encryption, also known as public-key encryption, utilizes two distinct but mathematically related keys (public key and a private key). The public key is widely distributed and used for encryption, while the private key is kept secret and used for decryption. The sender encrypts the message using the recipient’s public key, and only the recipient, possessing the corresponding private key, can decrypt the message.
- Key Management
Key management is a crucial aspect of cryptography. It involves generating, distributing, storing, and protecting encryption keys. Keys must be securely generated using strong random number generators, and the private keys must be kept secret and protected from unauthorized access. Key distribution requires secure channels or the use of trusted third parties to ensure that the keys reach the intended recipients securely.
- Hash Functions
Cryptographic hash functions are algorithms that take an input (data) and produce a fixed-size string of characters, known as a hash value or hash code. Hash functions are used to verify the integrity of data and ensure that it hasn’t been tampered with. Even a minor change in the input data results in a completely different hash value, making it extremely difficult to reverse-engineer the original data from the hash.
- Digital Signatures
Digital signatures are a cryptographic mechanism used to provide authenticity, integrity, and non-repudiation of digital documents or messages. They are created using the sender’s private key and can be verified using the corresponding public key. Digital signatures ensure that the message or document originated from the claimed sender and has not been tampered with during transmission.
- Cryptographic Protocols
Cryptographic protocols are sets rules and procedures that govern secure communication between two or more parties. They incorporate various cryptographic techniques to establish secure channels, authenticate users, protect data during transmission, and ensure privacy and integrity.
Overall, cryptography plays a crucial role in ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, authenticity, and non-repudiation of data and communication, providing the necessary security measures to protect sensitive information from unauthorized access and manipulation.
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