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What is Cryptography | A Simple Explanation

Fawzan Hussain 28 March, 2022 | 4 min read

Introduction

Cryptography has been around since the time of Julius Caesar when he used it to secure his communications. So what exactly is cryptography and how has it evolved to meet modern-day needs? Cryptography has been around in one form or another since the ancient Greeks and Romans developed their first ciphers to send secret messages across the battlefields in World War II using the Enigma machine. Today will discuss what is cryptography, how cryptography plays an important role in the security of our data, whether it’s used to transfer private information on the internet or protect patient records in hospitals.

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Have you ever wondered when you enter your personal details on the web what do the companies do with your data and where to store your data? Therefore, Cryptography is a concept that resolves your concern. Cybercrime is the act of attempting to attack, damage, or access data on a network without authorization. As a result, it's essential because it allows you to protect data that you don't want others to see. It's used for corporate secrets, classified information, and protecting personal information against identity fraud. We have seen a lot of information and buzz about cybercrime, So cryptography plays a major role in resolving this problem. So in this article, you will get deep knowledge about cryptography, how it works, and their types.

Hence, sticking to the articles increases your future knowledge. Let's get started!

What Exactly is the Meaning of Cryptography?

Cryptography is a security process in which messages are encoded to prevent unintended users from accessing them. It often means using cryptography to prevent people from accessing your messages, even if they manage to obtain your data. The two most common methods of cryptography used in blockchain technology are encryption and hashing. Encryption takes plain text and converts it into ciphertext so that only authorized users can decode it (that's what keeps blockchain content secure). Hashing uses mathematical functions like bcrypt or sha-256 with passwords or transaction information to create digital signatures of sensitive information; those cryptographic hashes can be stored on public blockchains for security purposes. It is highly recommended to secure cryptocurrency wallets with bcrypt and sha-256 because they are proven cybersecurity technologies.

Basic Cryptography Terminology

Let’s discuss some important terminology that you must know when you learn cryptography.

  • Encryption - Encryption is the process to change plaintext into ciphertext. Plaintext means just a normal text and ciphertext means a random sequence of bits.
  • Decryption - Decryption is nothing but an invisible process encryption algorithm. Its converted ciphertext into plaintext.
  • Cipher - It consists of a mathematical function used in cryptographic algorithms to convert plaintext into ciphertext.
  • Key to Encrypt- This information is only needed in small quantities in order to induce the cryptographic algorithm's output.

So, these are some most important terminologies that you must see in this article. Now moving ahead to learn various types of cryptography like a symmetric key, asymmetric key, and hash function. Now, learn these types in detail.

What Are The Types of Cryptography?

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Further, let’s explore several different types of cryptography that exist. Generally, we use 3 types of cryptography that are:

  • Symmetric Key - Symmetric encryption means identical. In this cryptography algorithm, we can use a single key both for encryption and decryption. As you might know, if you have only one key, this creates a problem in transferring data from sender to receiver. This key is also called a secret key.
  • Asymmetric Key - This key comes with a paid encrypt or decrypt key. These keys are also known as public keys or private keys. Pairs of keys are obtained using the same algorithm consisting of a private key or public-key cryptography.
  • Hash Function - There is no need for keys with this type of encryption. A block cipher is used to generate a fixed-length hash value from the plaintext. Crypttext cannot be decoded without the key, so plaintext is nearly impossible to decode.

What Are The Features of Cryptography?

As mentioned before, cryptography is used to secure digital data. Users can encrypt their data and only allow authorized parties access through this algorithm. Cryptography is one of the most promising innovations of the technological age. However, I would like to present some exciting features or specifications of cryptography.

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Trustworthiness

Cryptography is highly trustworthy. This technology is specially designed to provide high-level security features. In cryptography, No one can access your information.

Authentication

In cryptography technology, it authenticates the person before sending information from sender to receiver. So, the identities of the sender and receiver are confirmed in cryptography.

Non-rejection

The non-rejection feature in cryptography is so useful and essential. In this feature, the sender must share their information before sending information.

Benefits Of Using Cryptographic Hash Function

As we discussed earlier the meaning of hash function in cryptographic. How a hash function is good for you and how a hash algorithm helps to prevent cybercrime. So, the cryptographic hash function takes cleartext input and gives enciphered text as an output called a hash value. Here, are the following benefits of the Cryptographic Hash Function:

  • Avalanche Effect- If you perform a slight change in your data then it can result in a significantly different output.
  • Uniqueness - You will get unique output every time of every input.
  • Deterministic - You will get the same output of every same input if you get to give the same hash function.
  • Quickness - Your output will come in very little time.
  • Reverse Engineering is Not Possible - The amazing benefit of using a hash function is that it is not possible to generate input if you have an output or hash function.

Cryptography and Blockchain Cryptography

Cryptocurrencies are one of the major applications of blockchain and use public or private keys to maintain the addresses of users in the blockchain. In cryptography in blockchain, the public key encryption is used for the address of the user and it is transparent which means it is visible for everyone in the blockchain. On the other hand, a private key is widely used in enterprise blockchain which is used to access that address data & authorize any of the actions for the “address”.

Conclusion

Cryptography is the technology to communicate with each other in very secure communication. In a typical setting, two parties (e.g., individuals or organizations) want to exchange information over an insecure channel. The main motivation behind developing cryptography technology is to enable secure communication over insecure; however, one can also consider other goals, such as authentication and integrity protection. Blockchain: Blockchain technology enables a new type of internet database — one that can be shared securely without a central administrator or governing body. All transactions in a blockchain network are recorded publicly so that anyone on earth can see them.

Here we conclude this article, we learned a lot about cryptography and how essential it is for our daily life.

Author's avatar
Fawzan Hussain
A Freelance SEO Consultant who also loves to blog about technologies.

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