An Overview of Cryptography

An Overview of Cryptography

TYPES OF CRYPTOGRAPHIC ALGORITHMS

There are several ways of classifying cryptographic algorithms. For purposes of this paper, they will be categorized based on the number of keys that are employed for encryption and decryption, and further defined by their application and use. The three types of algorithms that will be discussed are (Figure 1):

  • Secret Key Cryptography (SKC): Uses a single key for both encryption and decryption; also called symmetric encryption. Primarily used for privacy and confidentiality.
  • Public Key Cryptography (PKC): Uses one key for encryption and another for decryption; also called asymmetric encryption. Primarily used for authentication, non-repudiation, and key exchange.
  • Hash Functions: Uses a mathematical transformation to irreversibly ”encrypt” information, providing a digital fingerprint. Primarily used for message integrity.

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