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What is Cryptography?

Post by Jawad Ahmad Riaz

Cryptography is used to secure the confidential information. It is mechanism which is used to hide the secret information, provide authentication to users prevents the undetected amendment and prevent the unauthorized use of network by the intruders.

The Basic Mechanism of Cryptography

Cryptography is the process of converting the important data and information into a cipher text form and then convert it again to the decipherable form when it reaches its authorize user. The process of encryption and decryption is the main mechanism which is working and guiding the flow of data. Cryptography has two modes known as public key and secret key. Key is usually defined as the secret information which needs to be transferred over the network. The use of secret key is sometimes known as symmetric key and that of an asymmetric key is known as public key. The working of the secret key is really uncomplicated. The original information is transformed to the encrypted content using the secret key, then with the help of another secret key it is transformed again into readable form. The working of the public key is a little different. In asymmetric transformation the private or secret key is used to transform the original data into ciphered form, then at the other end the public key is used to convert the data into decrypted data again. The public key provides slow data transformation and it is suitable to be used for converting small amount of data.


Benefits of Using Cryptography

The process of using public key and private key is beneficial only if the secret is refrained from getting copied or impersonated.  The public key helps other individuals to convert the data into encrypted form and the secret key of the intended user can only decrypt it. Cryptography is used to conceal or hide crucial information. This mechanism helps in preventing the leakage of important information from the network. The unauthorized users are not allowed to enter into the network. The most common mechanism is Data Encryption standard and RC2/RC4. Public key is preferably used where it is important to demonstrate the connection of the information and the individual. Cryptography provides the authentication of users over electronic data transfer for example what happens in a digital signature. The use of digital signature also helps in identifying the originator of the information and he cannot disclaim the ownership of data. The use of public key mechanism allows a user to tell everyone how to encrypt a public key but he has to keep the secret of decryption to himself. The use of cryptography is beneficial for banks and law firms. It can also help the investigation agencies to keep their data secure.

The Basic Goals of Cryptography

The main goals of using cryptography are authentication, integrity, confidentiality, non repudiation and availability. The purpose of confidentiality is to provide security to the data from the attack of any adversary. It is in this step when there is need to use secret key to encrypt data. The authentication clause is helpful in providing sufficient evidence of the true owner of the data. Hence an individual can neither impersonate him/her as an owner nor deny his ownership. The use of private and public key also makes sure that the original data is reached to the ultimate user and not even a single point is destroyed during conversion. The process of nonrepudiation is aided as with the digital signature any user or owner can not escape from or denies his/her ownership. The data availability is also a crucial step when the data is being transformed to any other form.  However public and private keys are so secure to use that even the most sensitive information is deciphered correctly.

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