Data breaches are not only extremely expensive, but there are also laws concerning data security that need to be pursued if the company wants to avoid huge fines. Data encryption is a highly recommended way to keep your data out of the wrong hands the entire time it’s on your computer.
The most common encryption methods are hashing, symmetric cryptography and asymmetric cryptography. Each of these encryption techniques has their own uses, advantages, and disadvantages. All three forms of encryption rely on cryptography.
Encryption is used to change readable text, called plaintext, into ciphertext which is an unreadable secret format. Encrypting data offers other benefits besides protecting the privacy of a message. These advantages consist of ensuring that messages have not been distorted during transit and validating the identity of the sender.
Hashing creates a unique, fixed-length signature for a message or data set. Hashes are set up with an algorithm or hash function, and people use them to evaluate sets of data. Since a hash is exclusive to a particular message, even slight changes to that message can result in a radically different hash, thereby alerting a user to possible tampering.
Symmetric cryptography is one of the oldest and most safe encryption methods. It is also known as private-key cryptography. The name “private key” comes from the fact that the key used to encrypt and decrypt data should remain secure because anyone who has access to it can interpret the coded messages. The sender encodes the message into ciphertext by using a key, and the receiver decodes it by using the same key. Conventional symmetric encryption algorithms are Data Encryption Standard (DES), Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), and International Data Encryption Algorithm (IDEA).
Asymmetric cryptography is possibly more secure than symmetric methods of encryption. It is also known as public-key cryptography. It uses two keys, a “private” key and a “public key,” to carry out encryption and decryption. A single key does not require to be securely managed among several users, so the use of two keys beats the main weakness in symmetric key cryptography. A public key is freely available to everyone and is used to encrypt messages before sending them. A unique, private key remains with the recipient of ciphertext messages, who uses it to decrypt them. Asymmetric encryption algorithms are RSA and Diffie-Hellman.