Symmetric vs. Asymmetric Encryption Differences

Selecting the right encryption software that will secure sensitive data will be tough for somebody who is not tech-savvy or is new to cryptography, mainly between symmetric vs asymmetric encryption cryptography. Let us check the difference between both over here in detail:

Asymmetric and Symmetric Key Encryption:

The asymmetric encryption makes use of pair of the related keys —public and private key. And the public key is available to everybody, which is what is used to encrypt the plaintext message before they send this. To decrypt & read the message, you have to hold a private key. Public & private keys both are mathematically related, however, the private key will not get derived from this.

Encryption is one process that will change the form of a message to protect this from reading by anybody. The Symmetric encryption message gets encrypted by using one key and the same key gets used for decrypting a message that makes it simple to use but not very secure. It needs a safe way to transfer this key from one side to another.

Purpose of Using Symmetric Encryption

Even though symmetric encryption is one older kind of encryption, it’s effective and easier than asymmetric encryption that strains networks because of data size performance issues & heavy CPU usage.

As symmetric encryption performs much smoother and faster than asymmetric encryption, it’s used commonly for bulk encryption or encrypting huge data volume, like database encryption. In the database, the secret key will be used just by its database to encrypt and decrypt the data. So, here are some instances of where symmetric cryptography gets used:

  • Payment apps, like bank purchases, where the personally identifiable information should be secured to avoid the identity theft and fraudulent charges
  • Validations will be performed to make sure that the sender of the message is who looks to be.
  • Hashing and random number creation

Asymmetric Key Encryption:

Asymmetric Encryption is totally based on the public & private key encryption method. They use two keys to encrypt & decrypt any message. It is highly secure than the symmetric key encryption method but is slower. In asymmetric encryption (or public-key cryptography), the private key is shared only with the key’s initiator as it safely has to get maintained.

Purpose of Asymmetric Encryption 

Asymmetric encryption utilizes: Asymmetric cryptography is mainly used to check the authenticity of the data by using digital signatures. The digital signature is a cryptographic method that will verify the validity & credibility of the message, software, and digital record. It is the equivalent of an in-person signature and sealed seal in digital form. You also can use asymmetric encryption in the applications where a lot of users will encrypt & decode their messages, like:

  • Asymmetric encryption is mainly used in SSL or TSL cryptographic protocols that offer encrypted connections between websites & browsers.
  • The encrypted email involves using the public key for encrypting the file & the private key for decoding it.
  • Every unspent transaction output in the Bitcoin ledger is generally associated with the public key. Thus, suppose the user needs to give another user some money & has UTXO linked with the public key. In this case, he makes use of a private key for signing the contract, which spends UTXO & makes the new UTXO linked with the second user public key.
  • Asymmetric encryption gets used for Bitcoin & other cryptocurrencies when the consumers offer public keys that everyone can use & private keys held to be hidden. Bitcoin uses the cryptographic algorithm that will guarantee the funds that are belonging to the rightful owners are spent.

Difference between Symmetric Key Encryption and Asymmetric Key Encryption

Symmetric Key Encryption Asymmetric Key Encryption
Symmetric Encryption has one key to encrypt &decrypt the message. Asymmetric Encryption has two cryptographic keys, public and private keys.
Symmetric Encryption is Faster Asymmetric Encryption consists of 2 keys, the process gets slowed down.
Providesconfidentiality Providesconfidentiality, non-repudiation and authenticity.
Randomly generated string Have special structures
Use of resource is low. Resourceutilization is much higher.


Final Words

We have looked over some primary concepts over symmetric and asymmetric encryption. Though they are completely different based on different mathematical constructs, both have found the apps in many scenarios.