Common Encryption Methods



Common Encryption Methods- Understanding Common Encryption Methods will be crucial in 2022. The Internet now connects billions of individuals and allows them to communicate and share data. It is used for trade, financial services, social contact, and the interchange of enormous volumes of personal and business data. With the rise in popularity and use of the internet, security has become a major concern for both individuals and businesses.

When delivering sensitive data via a public network, the Internet principles of openness and broad access are no longer required. Without a doubt, you want to protect sensitive information from unauthorised access. Most significantly, you must protect such information from unscrupulous cyber criminals. Without a doubt, security has various facets and uses, ranging from secure card transactions to private data exchange and healthcare information protection.

The most acceptable solution to this security issue is to change the information so that it can only be seen by authorised individuals. We’re talking about encryption algorithms and procedures, which we’ll go over in this article.

However, while information encryption is important for today’s secure communications, it is not sufficient in and of itself. In effect, the encryption methods and algorithms mentioned here should be viewed as the first of multiple security measures to be implemented in various IT systems and situations.

What is Encryption?

Computer encryption is based on cryptography, a science that has been around for as long as people have wished to keep their messages private. Because traditional human-based encryption codes are too easy for today’s computers to crack, most forms of cryptography are now computer-based.

Encryption is defined as the “cryptographic transformation of data (plaintext) into a form (ciphertext) that conceals the data’s original meaning to prevent it from being known or used,” according to the Computer Security Resource Center (CSRC).

The reversing process is defined by the CSRC definition. “The related reversing operation is called decryption, which is a transformation that returns encrypted data to its original state if the transformation is reversible.”

Encryption Algorithms

Algorithms are used in the encryption process. Maybe you remember this from algebra class. In mathematics, an algorithm is a technique that describes a sequence of procedures that can be used to solve a mathematical problem. Algorithms are now far more prevalent and useful in a variety of fields than traditional mathematical processes. They can be used in a variety of fields, including as computer science and cybersecurity.



An encryption algorithm is a mathematical process that uses useless ciphertext to scramble and disguise a communication in the context of cybersecurity. An encryption algorithm, according to Cloudflare, is the “technique used to transform data into ciphertext.” An algorithm, according to the definition, employs an encryption key to transform data in a predictable manner. Users who have the correct decryption key can then convert the ciphertext back to plaintext.

Cryptography vs. Encryption

Cryptography is frequently confused with encryption. Cryptography, on the other hand, is a broad term that includes encryption as one of its components. The study of encryption and decryption is referred to as cryptography.

Cryptography, by definition, is the study of ideas like encryption and decryption that are used to provide secure communications. Encryption, on the other hand, is primarily a mathematical operation or algorithm for encoding a message. As a result, cryptography as a subject of study encompasses a greater set of categories and scopes, whereas encryption is merely one approach within cryptography.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Gary C. Kessler, Professor of Cybersecurity and Chair of the Security Studies and International Affairs Department, lists five key functions of cryptography:

  • Privacy and confidentiality: guaranteeing that only the intended recipient can view the message.
  • The process of proving one’s identification is known as authentication.
  • Integrity: ensuring the receiver that the message received has not been tampered with in any way.
  • Non-repudiation is a mechanism for proving that a communication was transmitted by the sender.
  • The technique through which crypto keys are shared between sender and receiver is known as key exchange.
  • Cryptography begins with unencrypted data, sometimes known as plaintext. You use encryption techniques to encrypt the data into ciphertext, which is then decoded back into plaintext that can be read and used.

Common Encryption Methods

Symmetric and asymmetric encryption are the two most frequent types of encryption.

Symmetric Encryption

Private key encryption is another name for symmetric encryption. Secret Key Cryptography is a term used by Kessler and other researchers to describe this procedure. This encryption method uses only one key for both the transmitter and the receiver, as the name implies. When it comes to speed, symmetric encryption has a significant advantage over asymmetric cryptography. Because it employs one key, which is much shorter than asymmetric encryption approaches, this method is faster to execute in terms of encryption and decryption procedures.

Even while symmetric encryption is fast, it comes with a high level of danger when it comes to key transmission. Notably, symmetric cryptography encrypts messages with the same key, which the sender must exchange with the recipients for decryption. The chance of hackers intercepting the key increases every time people share it.

What are some of the most common applications of symmetric encryption? Because of its speed, this encryption method can be used for mass data transfers. Furthermore, this encryption approach can be used to encrypt data stored on a device that will not be sent. In the banking industry, symmetric encryption is utilised for payment applications, notably card transactions, where personally identifiable information (PII) must be protected against identity theft.

Asymmetric Encryption

Asymmetric encryption, often known as public-key encryption, differs from symmetric encryption in that it uses two keys to encrypt and decrypt data: one public (which everyone can see) and one private (which only you can see). Typically, calculating the public key from the private key is simple, but generating a private key from the public key is extremely difficult. Because asymmetric encryption is sluggish, it is inefficient for large-scale processes.

Because it employs two separate keys, asymmetric encryption provides greater security. Public-key cryptography is employed as a “means of securing the confidentiality, authenticity, and non-repudiation of electronic communications and data storage,” according to an article on Venafi.



As a result, the approach is most commonly utilised in jobs where security takes precedence above speed. Digital signatures are a common usage of asymmetric encryption to verify user identities. It’s more difficult to access a website on the public cloud, and symmetric encryption isn’t possible because you don’t control the other end of the connection. This action necessitates sharing a secret code with other entities without the risk of outsiders intercepting it in the middle of the Internet.

Now let’s look at some of the most extensively used encryption techniques.

Common Encryption Algorithms

Today’s encryption technologies include a variety of options. In this article, we’ll look at ten popular algorithms.

Triple-DES (3DES)

The earlier Data Encryption System (DES) algorithm is applied three times to the same block of text in Triple DES. 3DES is a symmetric encryption method that use the block cypher method.

A block cypher is a method of encrypting a single fixed-size block of data at a time. When utilising the same key, a given plaintext block in a block cypher will always encrypt to the same ciphertext, which Kessler refers to as deterministic. In a stream cypher, however, the same plaintext will encrypt to distinct ciphertexts.

Because it is too short, the 56-bit DES algorithm, one of the most well-known and well-studied secret-key cryptography algorithms, has always been inadequate. As a result, as processing power expanded, it became increasingly vulnerable to brute force attacks. 3DES performs the DES algorithm three times to each data block by design. In practise, the new algorithm can now have a total length of up to 168 bits. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, 3DES became an intermediate replacement for DES, according to Kessler.

It can now be used for a variety of purposes, such as safeguarding credit card transactions in the electronic payment industry and other financial services. Triple DES is also used to safeguard user content and system information in Microsoft’s Outlook, OneNote, and System Center Configuration Manager 2012.

RSA

RSA (Rivest-Shamir-Adleman in full) is an asymmetric encryption technique that is frequently used in conjunction with the Diffie-Hellman key exchange mechanism, which is detailed in the following section. Using two prime integers, this encryption algorithm generates the modulus, which then generates the public and private keys.

The strength of RSA encryption grows exponentially as the key size grows larger, usually 1024 or 2048 bits. To prevent messages from producing unsafe ciphertexts, RSA implementation is usually paired with some type of padding mechanism.

Because there is no active patent on RSA, anyone can use it. The algorithm uses the same two functions to accomplish encryption, decryption, and signature verification. The RSA asymmetric approach is the industry standard for encrypting data delivered over the Internet due to its security characteristics.

However, RSA has significant flaws: the technique is slow due to the fact that it uses public-key cryptography to encrypt data.

Diffie-Hellman

The Diffie-Hellman encryption algorithm, also known as Exponential Key Exchange, is a method for sharing private keys across public networks. The algorithm, which is one of the most prevalent encryption algorithms, can also operate as a key agreement protocol, determining the private key used by both parties in data exchanges.

For decades, Diffie-Hellman has been used to share private keys in symmetric encryption applications. It enables two entities with no prior knowledge of one another to construct a shared secret key through an unsecure channel such as the Internet.

The Diffie-Hellman algorithm, on the other hand, lacks authentication. Man-in-the-middle attacks can compromise data encrypted with this method. Diffie-Hellman is highly suited for data communication, but it is less commonly employed for data that is stored or archived for an extended period of time.

The Diffie-Hellman public domain algorithm allows you to protect a wide range of internet services due to its nature. In addition, the method serves as the foundation for a number of authenticated protocols. Diffie-application Hellman’s in forward secrecy in Transport Layer Security (TLS) ephemeral modes is a good example.

ElGamal Encryption

Another asymmetric key cryptography based on the Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange is ElGamal encryption. The difficulty of computing discrete logs in a big prime modulus determines the algorithm’s security. The identical plaintext yields a distinct ciphertext each time it is encrypted using the ElGamal technique. The technique generates ciphertext twice the length of the plaintext.

Any cyclic group can be used to define ElGamal encryption. Its security is determined by the underlying group’s attributes as well as the plaintext padding strategy.

Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) and GNU Privacy Guard both use this encryption technology in current versions. ElGamal encryption is also employed in a hybrid cryptosystem, in which a symmetric cryptosystem encrypts the plaintext before ElGamal is used to encrypt the key.

Blowfish

Blowfish, like Triple DES, is a symmetric key technique intended to replace DES. This popular encryption technology is known for its efficiency and quickness. Anyone can use the Blowfish algorithm for free because it is in the public domain.

Blowfish uses a block length of 64 bits. It also has a key size that can range from 32 to 448 bits. The Blowfish algorithm uses a 16-round Feistel cypher with massive key-dependent S-boxes for encryption.



The Blowfish algorithm has the issue of being subject to birthday assaults, especially in HTTPS situations. Apart from that, because to its short 64-bit block size, Blowfish is clearly ineffective in encrypting files larger than 4 GB.

What are some of the most common Blowfish applications? Database security, eCommerce platforms, file and disc encryption, and archiving tools are just a few of the software areas that use the encryption method. Password management, file transfer, secure shell, steganography, and email encryption are all possible using Blowfish.

Twofish

The Twofish symmetric cypher algorithm was devised by Bruce Schneier to replace the less secure Blowfish technique. The Situation Box (S-box) was employed by Twofish as part of their encryption approach. Twofish protects against brute force attacks by using a 128-bit block size and a key size of up to 256 bits. The encryption key is represented by half of the n-bit key, whereas the second half adjusts the encryption method.

Twofish is marginally slower than AES, but with 256-bit keys it is significantly faster. Furthermore, the algorithm is adaptable, making it appropriate for usage in network programmes with often changing keys. Furthermore, Twofish is effective when only a limited quantity of RAM and ROM is available. The algorithm is widely included in encryption software such as TrueCrypt, GPG, and PhotoEncrypt.

AES

The term AES stands for Advanced Encryption Standard, and it is a technology concept.

The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is the successor of the Data Encryption Standard (DES). In 1997, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) began a public four-and-a-half-year effort to build a new safe cryptosystem for US government applications. This evolution contrasted with the highly restricted process that led to the introduction of DES over two decades ago. The process resulted in AES, which took over as the official DES successor in December 2001.

The AES algorithm is a three-size block cypher: AES-128, AES-192, and AES-256. Before conducting a sequence of modifications known as rounds, the AES encryption algorithm places data into an array. In essence, AES in 128-bit form is extremely efficient. For added protection, it can use 192-bit and 256-bit keys. For 128-bit keys, it runs ten rounds and for 192-bit keys, it runs twelve cycles. There are 14 rounds in the 235-bit key. The programme also employs Rijndael cryptography, a block cypher created by Belgian cryptographers Joan Daemen and Vincent Rijmen.

The AES algorithm is strong enough to secure government secrets and sensitive corporate data by design. It is naturally secure, and no actual attacks against the algorithm have been uncovered by security specialists. As a result, the encryption technique has become a widely accepted standard among the US government and other institutions.

Because of its minimal RAM requirements and rapid speed, AES is the recommended technique for encrypting top-secret data. The technique also works well on a wide range of hardware, from 8-bit smart cards to high-performance processors. AES is also used in a variety of transmission methods and protocols, including Wi-Fi network security (WPA2), voice over IP (VoIP), and signalling data.

IDEA

A 128-bit key is used in the International Data Encryption Algorithm (IDEA). IDEA is similar to AES in that it uses a rounding mechanism. Users have implemented the block cypher for the Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) email privacy technology, which sends data in 64-bit blocks.

The 64-bit block is divided into four 16-bit pieces by IDEA. The sub-blocks are then converted one by one in each round. To scramble data, IDEA uses substitution and transposition.

RC6

The RC6 technique is also a symmetric-key block cypher. RC6, on the other hand, offers a little twist in that it uses variable-length blocks. Furthermore, the number of rounds that the data travels through throughout modifications is varied.

RC6 can handle 128-bit blocks and keys with sizes ranging from 0 to 2040 bits.

RC6 is unquestionably superior to the earlier RC4 and RC5 algorithms. Furthermore, RC6 is parameterized, which means it adds an extra layer of complexity to encryption.

Elliptic Curve Cryptography

ECC (Elliptic Curve Cryptography) is an asymmetric encryption method based on the algebraic structure of elliptic curves. Rather than using the traditional way of creating keys as the product of big prime numbers, this widespread encryption method uses the elliptic curve equation property to generate keys.

The size of the elliptic curve defines the problem’s complexity level. With a 164-bit key, it may reach a degree of security that other systems, such as RSA, require a 1024-bit key to attain.

Key agreements, pseudo-random generators, and digital signatures are all examples of ECC. ECC is being developed as a successor to the popular RSA technique by researchers. The National Security Agency (NSA) has shown strong support for the method, stating that it plans to use Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman for key exchange and the Elliptic Curve Digital Signature algorithm for digital signatures.

Conclusion

The importance of encrypting data to keep it concealed and inaccessible to unauthorised users cannot be overstated. Encryption helps secure private information and sensitive data in today’s world of frequent and sophisticated assaults. Aside from cyberattacks, machine compute power is always expanding, necessitating new approaches by security specialists to keep intruders at bay.

 

The security of communications between client apps and servers is improved by a variety of encryption techniques and algorithms. Encryption algorithms are mathematical methods that convert plaintext to ciphertext, which is unreadable. In other words, if you employ the right technique to encrypt data, even if an intruder gets their hands on it, they won’t be able to read it.

 

We’ve established that some encryption algorithms are more trustworthy and robust than others. In certain circumstances, new algorithms evolve in response to requests to replace older, less effective algorithms. 3DES and AES, for example, improved on the flaws of DES. Older algorithms became obsolete as a result, while newer, more robust versions were developed. This article discusses trustworthy encryption techniques that protect information from cyberattacks. Without appropriate encryption systems and algorithms, the Internet and its uses would be impossible.

Jennifer Thomas
Jennifer Thomas is the Co-founder and Chief Business Development Officer at Cybers Guards. Prior to that, She was responsible for leading its Cyber Security Practice and Cyber Security Operations Center, which provided managed security services.