As humans evolved, concepts of politics, kingdom, group, war, cyber world, and states made secure communication essential for survival. This necessity became the cornerstone of modern cryptography’s idea and development.
One of the most crucial components in making contemporary cryptocurrencies and blockchains feasible is cryptography. From handwritten secret messages to encryption in blockchains, the science of cryptography has come a long way. Let us understand the concept in detail and have a look at the various aspects of cryptography.
What do you mean by cryptography?
When looked at in cryptography meaning, it is pretty straightforward. It originates from the Greek word “Kryptos,” which means “hidden.” Typically, the use of codes to secure information and communications so that only the intended recipients can decode and interpret them is known as cryptography.
The modern cryptography techniques to safeguard data in the cyber world emanate from mathematical ideas and a series of computations based on rules, or algorithms, otherwise known as cryptography algorithms, which makes them difficult to decode.
How does cryptography work?
Understanding how cryptography works requires a better understanding of its main components. There are two primary aspects of cryptography. They are:
Encryption
Encryption helps in scrambling data so that no one else can decipher it. Scrambling utilizes specialized mathematical computations and procedures, commonly referred to as ciphers. It encrypts the message using an encryption key and a cipher.
Decryption
It is the second step and is the process of undoing the work that encryption accomplishes. It restores the information’s original form, making the data readable once again. The type of cryptography used will determine whether the encryption key can also decrypt it.
Cryptography transforms plaintext into something that only the intended recipients can understand. The Encryption procedures involve the conversion of plaintext into ciphertext. Decryption procedures help convert ciphertext into plaintext again.
What are the three types of cryptography?
There are mainly three Cryptography types:
Symmetric Cryptography
Additionally, it is known as secret-key or private-key cryptography. It is an encryption technique where messages are encrypted and decrypted using the same shared key by both the sender and the recipient. Symmetric Key Systems are quicker and more effortless, but the issue is that the sender and receiver must exchange keys securely. Data Encryption System (DES) is the most used symmetric cryptography system.
Asymmetric Cryptography
It is also known as public key cryptography. In this system, information is encrypted and decrypted using a pair of keys. The public key encrypts data, while the private key decrypts the data. Private Key and Public Key are distinct. Even if everyone knows the public key, only the intended recipient can decode the message because only he has access to the private key.
For example, Public key cryptography in blockchain verifies digital signatures. Every transaction recorded to a block is signed by the sender using a digital signature, which helps avoid data corruption.
Hashing
This third form of cryptography does not require a key. It uses a hash value with a specified length based on the plain text message. It adds another layer of security as the hashed output is not designed to reverse or disclose the initial input data.
What is cryptography with example?
Interestingly, inscriptions engraved in the main chamber of the Egyptian nobleman Khnumhotep II tomb from around 1900 BC provide the first known example of cryptography use.
Modern-day cryptography has a broader set of uses and categories. Nevertheless, it’s critical to go over many significant cryptography examples.
Data Encryption Standard
The introduction of the Data Encryption Standard (DES) in 1971 represented a significant breakthrough in cybersecurity. The DES algorithm uses symmetric encryption. It is a well-known cybersecurity tool even today.
Advanced Encryption Standard
As DES’s replacement, the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is currently the most secure encryption algorithm available. Even the United States government uses it; big social media sites and corporations use it too.
RSA
Named after its founders (Rivest, Shamir, and Adleman), the most popular asymmetric encryption standard example in use is RSA encryption. It uses block ciphers, which divide data into blocks and disguise the information.
Use of Cryptography in Cryptocurrency
Understanding the importance of cryptography in blockchain and cryptocurrencies is crucial. It should be no surprise that the blockchain technology used to transport digital assets depends on cryptography techniques.
Thanks to cryptography, blockchains can ensure security, which is essential to cryptocurrency systems. In reality, the cryptography chat board served as the impetus for the 2009 launch of Bitcoin. It is safe to say that cryptography and blockchain system for cryptocurrency are closely related.
Is cryptography cyber security?
Is cryptography cyber security? Since cryptography and cybersecurity are systems intended to combat cybercrime, most people often stumble to tell them apart. It’s critical to comprehend and distinguish between the two concepts based on how they relate to technology.
Cybersecurity is the term that describes the practices to protect networks, software, and hardware from malicious access. Cryptography involves the encoding and decoding of coded language understood only by the sender and the intended recipient. However, both help to protect sensitive information.
What are cryptography techniques?
Cryptography Techniques address three primary objectives–authentication, confidentiality, and integrity. With the advancement in cryptography science, encryption techniques have developed too.
Here are a few examples of encryption techniques: Symmetric encryption, Morse code, Asymmetric encryption, Hashing, Caesar cipher, Monoalphabetic cipher, Steganography, Homophonic substitution cipher, Polyalphabetic cipher, Playfair cipher, Rail fence, etc.
What is the difference between symmetric and asymmetric cryptography?
Here is a comparison chart pointing out the differences between symmetric and asymmetric cryptography.
Symmetric Cryptography |
Asymmetric Cryptography |
The message is encrypted and decrypted using a single shared key. | Two different cryptographic keys—a public key and a private key—are used to encrypt and decrypt data. |
Keys are either 128 or 256 bits long. | The key length is 2048 bits or longer. |
In symmetric encryption, the size of the ciphertext may be equal to or less than that of the plain text. | In asymmetric encryption, the size of the ciphertext may be equal to or more than the plain text. |
Symmetric encryption uses a single key for both encryption and decryption, making the encryption process quicker. | Asymmetric encryption uses two separate keys. Therefore, the encryption process is slower. |
Single-key encryption makes it less secure. | Due to the use of two keys during encryption and decryption, it is much safer. |
Large data transmission frequently makes use of symmetric encryption. | Usually, it is utilized in smaller data transfers. |
It is an older technique. | It is a modern technique. |
Symmetric key encryption consumes fewer resources to operate. | Asymmetric encryption consumes a lot of resources. |
Conclusion
Lastly, cryptography is a diverse field and has become an integral part of data protection in the digital era. For example, cryptography in blockchain has become necessary to ensure blockchain integrity and security since it plays a critical role in keeping the public network secure. Although cryptography utilization in cryptocurrency blockchains today shows how far it has advanced, cryptography has a long history and will continue evolving as long as sensitive data requires protection.