7 Common Encryption Algorithms Explained
The internet was founded on the principles of openness, and broad access. However, these concepts are not useful when you want to send sensitive information via a public network. It is important to keep sensitive information safe from prying eyes and from criminal intent.
The solution is to make the data invisible to others. This feat can be achieved using encryption algorithms, which are covered in the CompTIA Security+ exam.
What is an encryption algorithm?
An algorithm is a mathematical formula that solves a particular problem. This may be something you learned in middle school algebra. An algorithm is designed according to a set of rules so that everyone can use it.
An encryption algorithm is a mathematical process that uses meaningless cryptotext to obscure or scramble a piece of text. The same algorithm can be used to decrypt a message, a process called decryption.
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Start training7 Encryption Types & Examples: Explained
As we have discussed in detail in a recent article, there are two types encryption. Symmetric encryption, also known by private key encryption, is the use of one key by both the receiver and sender. Symmetric encryption is often used by organizations for bulk data transfers because it is faster and more efficient.
Asymmetric encryption, however, uses both a private and public key to encrypt or decrypt data. Asymmetric encryption, also known as public key encryption, is generally more secure but can be slower or less efficient due its complexity. This type of encryption is used to make websites secure using SSL/TLS and to provide security technology behind digital certificates.
Let’s now take a look at seven commonly used encryption algorithms.
1. Triple DES (3DES).
3DES is a reinterpretation of the Data Encryption Standard algorithm (DES). It applies the DES algorithm three more times to the same block. 3DES is a symmetric algorithm which uses the block encryption method.
The 56-bit DES algorithm, which is too short, was deemed insufficient from the beginning. TripleDES is currently used to make electronic payments such as credit card transactions.
Rivest-Shamir-Adleman (RSA) is a public-key encryption algorithm that is often associated with the Diffie-Hellman key exchange method (see below). Two prime numbers are used to generate an RSA modulus. The modulus can then be used to derive both public and private keys.
Diffie-Hellman might be called a public key exchange technique, but others have classified it as an algorithm. Diffie-Hellman can be used to share private keys over public networks. It could also be called a key agreement protocol because it determines which private key will be used by each party after a series data exchanges. It is used for sharing private keys in symmetric encryption solutions for many decades.
Twofish is another symmetric block-cipher algorithm. Bruce Schneier created it to replace the less secure Blowfish algorithm. Twofish uses an S-box (substitutionbox) as part its encryption method. Twofish supports key sizes of up to 128 bits. This makes it immune to brute force attacks. Twofish is another symmetric block cryptoher algorithm.
The Advanced Encryption Standard, (AES), is a block encryption standard that comes in three sizes: AES-128, AES-192, and AES-256. AES uses data to create an array of data and perform a series (called rounds) of transformations. AES encryption can be used to protect both sensitive corporate data and government secrets.
The International Data Encryption Algorithm uses a 128-bit encryption key and works on a system that uses rounds. IDEA is a block encryption that was used to protect email addresses.