Understanding Different Types of Encryption Algorithms

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Understanding Different Types of Encryption Algorithm

The advancement of information security has led to the development of numerous methods for preventing valuable information from being decrypted by attackers. Every company works with the transmission of information from a certain point to another. As a consequence, considerable effort expended to secure this data. That’s why today we hear the terms like encryption algorithm, encoding, cryptography, and decoding words that indicate the privacy and security of data transmitted from one end to another.

Encryption is a crucial tool that business owners used to secure data and create users’ confidence. Nowadays, encryption used in virtually every digital business transaction. If you’re stressed to know how your business can benefit from encryption, you’re not deserted. According to GetApp’s 2022 Data Security Report, several IT security managers express that unencrypted data is one of the top security vulnerabilities their company faces.

This article discusses the different types of encryption algorithms for securing the data of your company, but first, let’s go over the basic concepts.

What is encryption?

Encryption is a basic building block of cybersecurity, used to secure and protect data from being modified, stolen, or exposed. It works by encrypting data into a secret code that can only be decrypted using a unique digital key.

At its fundamental level, encryption is the process of securing data or information by concealing it using mathematical methods so that only those with the key to decode it can access it. This procedure can vary from uncomplicated to very complicated. Moreover, engineers and computer scientists have created specific types of encryption methods that are used to secure the data and information that clients and businesses depend on every day.

The primary purpose of encryption is to secure the secrecy, integrity, & authenticity of the digital data kept on computer systems or transmitted over the internet or any other computer network by converting plain text into cipher text.

A detailed guide to understand how does Encryption Work.

What is Data Encryption and how it works?

Data encryption is a critical tool, to keep the integrity and confidentiality of the data. Almost everything we see on the internet, be it web pages or apps, has been encrypted in some way. Data encrypted data helps various organizations transmit information with no concern about the data being exposed to unwanted receivers.

Let us understand the work process with the help of an example.

Encryption requires two parties, the sender and the recipient, to actively communicate. To transform plain text data into cipher text, encryption requires a unique key. The sender and recipient both have access to the key. This encryption key is something that both parties completely agree on, so the process of encrypting and decrypting is carried out using this key.

How does Encryption Works

To transform data from ordinary text to cipher text, encryption uses complicated mathematical computations of encryption methods and digital keys. As we all know, encryption is bidirectional. A digital key at the sender end first converts ordinary text into cipher text. After passing the cipher text to the receiver, another digital key is used to decode the encrypted data.

for example, when considering WhatsApp, employs end-to-end encryption. The communication you transmit is encrypted on your device before it is sent to the recipient. A cryptographic lock secures these messages, and the key for this lock is only found at the receiver’s end, which then opens the lock and decrypts the message with the assistance of the key.

Who Needs to Use Data Encryption?

Data encryption is a necessity for those who keep sensitive information in their databases. When the data stored in a database is critical (This can include individuals, businesses, governments, and organizations of all kinds) database security becomes essential. Because of an insignificant mistake of leaving the information unencrypted, this weakness could result in a loss of integrity and reputation. 

Individuals may be required to use data encryption to protect confidential information such as financial data, medical documents, and other sensitive information. This is particularly essential when sending or storing information over the internet or on a computer or mobile device.

Businesses must also use data encryption algorithm to safeguard client information, banking data, and other sensitive information. This is especially essential for businesses in sectors such as healthcare, banking, and e-commerce, where cyber-attacks and data leaks are common.

Governments and various organizations may also use data encryption to protect confidential information related to national security, military, or other critical issues.

If anyone is wondering why organizations (or individuals) need to practice cryptography, consider the following four reasons:

  • Authentication
  • Privacy
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Security


Public key encryption shows that the original server of a website holds the private key and then legally provides an SSL certificate. This is a vital characteristic in an environment where there are so many fraudulent websites.


Encryption ensures that only the genuine recipient or data owner can view communications or access data. This security measure prevents cybercriminals, attackers, illegitimate internet service providers, spammers, and even government agencies from obtaining and viewing confidential information.

Regulatory Compliance

Several industries and government organizations have regulations in place that require companies that deal with users’ confidential information to encrypt that data. HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and the GDPR are a few examples of regulation and compliance requirements that require encryption.


Encryption assists in protecting sensitive data from various data breaches. Even if a corporate-owned device is lost or stolen, the data saved on it is extremely safe if the hard drive is correctly encrypted. Encryption also protects data from malicious activities such as man-in-the-middle assaults and allows parties to interact without fear of data breaches.

What are the different types of Encryption Algorithms?

Different types of encryption algorithms are available, and understanding their differences is essential. Selecting the appropriate encryption algorithm based on your data security needs is also important.

Here are some of the most common Encryption Algorithm Types:

  • Symmetric Encryption
  • Asymmetric Encryption
  • Hash Functions
  • AES Encryption
  • RSA Encryption

Symmetric Encryption

This encryption algorithm uses a single key to encode and decode data. The info is encrypted and decrypted using the same secret key. To encrypt a plain text message, Symmetric Encryption employs mathematical permutations. It also decrypts messages using the same mathematical permutation, known as a key.

Importantly, the same plain text letter does not always appear the same in the encrypted message (for example, “SSS” would not encode to three of the same letters), which makes decoding the encrypted message without the key.

Symmetric Encryption

Even though decrypting messages without the key is challenging, the fact that this method uses the same key for both encryption and decoding causes danger. People (or technology) who want to communicate using symmetric encryption must share the key, and if the communication channel utilized to share the key is compromised, the entire system for sharing private messages is compromised because anyone (third party) with the key can encrypt or decrypt those communications.

Symmetric encryption is a comparatively basic cryptographic algorithm by today’s standards, but it was previously considered advanced and was used by the German forces during World War II.

Benefits of Symmetric Encryption

  • Quick and simple to set up
  • It can be safe when using a secure algorithm.
  • Perfect for transferring large amounts of data
  • Minimal resource-intensive

Disadvantages of Symmetric Encryption

  • Secret keys must be shared with the receiver, and because this is typically done over the internet, a secret key could be stolen if the network is not safe.
  • If a malicious user obtains the private key, both ends of the communication chain are immediately compromised.

Asymmetric Encryption

This form of encryption algorithm uses a couple of keys, one public and one private. The public key can be openly shared, whereas the private key must keep secret. When data is secured with a sender’s public key and decoded with the recipient’s private key, the data can only be decrypted with the recipient’s private key.

Critically, calculating the public key from the private key should be reasonably simple, but generating the private key from the public key should be almost impossible. Today, three renowned mathematical methods, known as RSA, ECC, and Diffie-Hellman, reach this. Each employs a distinct formula but all adhere to the same fundamental principles.

Asymmetric Encryption

Although asymmetric encryption is more proficient than symmetric cryptography, both are still in use today — and are frequently used in tandem. This is because each strategy has benefits and disadvantages. Two major trade-offs between conventional and asymmetric cryptography are speed and security.

Advantages of asymmetric encryption:

  • It enables a message’s origin to be verified and authenticated by the receiver, making it simple to avoid protected messages from an unfamiliar source.
  • Tampering is detected using this encryption method. Authorized receivers can determine if a message was changed in transmission by using digital signatures in public key encryption.
  • It enables non-repudiation, and digitally signed communications function similarly to physically signed papers. It is essentially the same as acknowledging a communication; thus, the sender cannot dispute it.

The disadvantages of Asymmetric Encryption

  • Asymmetric encryption is more time-consuming than symmetric encryption.
  • If the secret key has been lost, no one will be able to decrypt the data.
  • Nothing can be done if a malicious user obtains a secret key to gain access to protected data.

Key differences between Symmetric and Asymmetric Encryption

Symmetric EncryptionAsymmetric Encryption
Employs single key for encryption and decryption.Employs a couple of keys, one for encryption and the other for decryption.
Alternative names for it include private key cryptography and secret-key encryption.Also known as conventional cryptography or public-key cryptography.
Most appropriate for large data transfers.Most applicable for small data transfers.
Key values for symmetric encryption can be 128 or 256 bits.Asymmetric requires key values of at least RSA 2048 bits.
Because it is an easy technique, the encryption process can be completed quickly.It is a significantly more intricate and time-consuming procedure than symmetric key encryption.
The secret key has been disclosed, As a result, the danger of exposure is greaterBecause the private key is not shared, the entire procedure is more secure than symmetric encryption.
Difficult to manage, if the number of participants becomes more.Operations will be systematized with pairs of public and private keys.
RC4, AES, DES, 3DES, and other algorithms are examples.RSA, Diffie-Hellman, ECC, and other algorithms are examples.

Hash Functions

Hash Functions are one-way encryption algorithm that transform any size of input data into a fixed-size hash. The outcome of the hash is distinct from the incoming data and cannot be reversed to retrieve the original data. Hash functions are frequently used for securing passwords, digital signatures, and integrity of file checks.

Cryptographic hash functions show the following three features:

  • They have no “collisions.” That is, no two input hashes should translate to the same output hash.
  • They are concealable. A hash function’s output should make it challenging to predict its input value.
  • They should be suitable for puzzles. It should be challenging to choose an input with a predefined outcome.

Examples of Hash Functions:

Some of the most common cryptographic hash function applications are:

1. Password Verification

Since storing passwords in plain text files is risky, virtually all websites keep passwords as hashes. When a user enters their password, it is hashed, and the outcome is compared to a list of hashed values kept on the company’s computers. However, as collection#1 of 21 million compromised credentials found in 2019 shows, this is not a foolproof strategy.

2. Checking the Integrity of a File or Message

Hashes can be used to ensure that communications and data sent from sender to recipient are not tampered with while on the way. The practice creates a “trust chain.” For example, a user can share a hashed version of their data as well as the key so that receivers can compare the hash value, which they calculate to the published value, to ensure that they are in sync.

3. Signature Creation and Validation

The mathematical method of verifying signatures is used to ensure the credibility of digital documents or communications. When the conditions are met, a legitimate digital signature provides its recipient with powerful evidence that a known source produced the message and was not changed in transmission.

Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)

AES is a symmetric encryption algorithm that has become a widely used standard for secure information transfer. Depending on the degree of security needed, AES employs different length keys. This encryption algorithm is extremely secure, making it an excellent option for securing and protecting sensitive information.

It uses a block size of 128 bits and can have a key size of 128, 192, or 256 bits. The algorithm works by repeatedly applying a set of mathematical operations to the data being encrypted, using a secret key to scramble the information. This process is called a round; the number of rounds depends on the key size. AES uses 10 rounds for 128-bit keys, 12 for 192-bit keys, and 14 for 256-bit keys.

The AES’s Advantages:

AES has proven to be a reliable and efficient way of protecting sensitive information over the years. Among the many advantages of using AES are the following:

  • This strong security method is applied in hardware and software.
  • It is resistant to hacking efforts due to its longer key widths (128, 192, and 256 bits).
  • It is a free and open-source option. Because It is royalty-free, it is widely available in both the commercial and public spheres.
  • Today, it is the most widely used security algorithm, with applications ranging from encrypted data storage to wireless communication.

AES Encryption algorithm is considered secure as it is resistant to many common attacks, including brute-force and differential attacks. It has also been approved by the United States government and is used by many industries to protect sensitive data.

The National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies use AES encryption and keys to prevent the theft of confidential material. Furthermore, it is frequently used in business goods such as but not limited to:

  • Wi-Fi (can be used as part of WPA2)
  • Apps for mobile devices (such as WhatsApp and LastPass)
  • VPN Applications
  • File Systems
  • Libraries in various software development languages

RSA (Rivest Shamir Adleman) Encryption Algorithm

RSA is the most widely used asymmetric encryption method. It employs prime number factorization to protect digital signatures, online transactions, and email encryption. It is more secure and faster than other asymmetric encryption methods.

When it comes to RSA encryption, there are two major components:

  • Key generation is the process of creating the keys that will be used to encode and decrypt the data that will be shared.
  • Encryption/Decryption Function: The procedures that must be followed when encrypting and retrieving data.

The RSA method has the following characteristics:

  • A well-known exponentiation in a finite field over integers that includes prime values.
  • This method’s integers are adequately big to make it challenging to solve.
  • This method uses two types of keys: secret keys and public keys.

The RSA Algorithm has some benefits over other methods. Here are a few examples:

  • It is very simple to apply.
  • Using the RSA Algorithm, confidential data can be shared meticulously and privately.
  • The RSA Algorithm is mathematically complicated, which makes it challenging to break.
  • You can simply distribute the public key to customers.

What are the Benefits of encryption algorithms?

The primary advantages of data encryption are as follows:

Data encryption makes communications more secure

Since the data has been encrypted, data encryption algorithm improves online security by ensuring that all transmitted messages are unreadable to unauthorized users.

Data security is made possible by encryption

Poor data integrity can cause business efforts to fail. Businesses can make better choices if they protect their data from cyberattacks and other types of data distortion.

Hacking is a terrible risk

Cybercrime and large-scale data leaks are a constant danger for any company, and even the most secure systems can be breached. This means that you should presume that confidential data can be lost, captured, or stolen and that it must be encrypted if this occurs.

Increase your confidence and give you a competitive advantage

Data encryption provides trustworthy security for those who manage confidential data as well as those who entrust their data to others. A comprehensive data encryption strategy that is regularly implemented is critical for keeping up with competitors.

Data encryption guarantees that companies comply with all relevant legal standards. It also helps them protect their clients’ sensitive info. These are just a few of the reasons why data security is essential.

What are the best practices for Data Encryption?

Secure Key Management

The strength of data encryption is determined by the key used to encode & decode it. As a result, it is critical to adopt proper key management practices to ensure that keys are kept securely, are not readily guessable, and are rotated regularly.

Layered Encryption

Using numerous encryption algorithm at distinct stages of data transmission and storage, a layered encryption strategy can provide an additional layer of protection. Even if one layer of encryption is breached, it makes it difficult for attackers to decode the data.

Regularly Update Encryption Algorithms

Because encryption algorithms are constantly updated to handle new security threats, it is critical to remain up to speed on the newest encryption standards. Upgrading encryption algorithms regularly can improve data encryption efficacy and provide better security against changing cyber threats.

Secure transport and Storage

One of the most important principles of data encryption is that the data must be secure both during transport & at rest. Encrypt the data using secure methods such as HTTPS, SSL, or TLS to guarantee safe transmission. Keep the sensitive data in secure places, such as encrypted databases or encrypted storage devices, to ensure safe storage.


Data encryption is a paramount tool for securing private or sensitive data during transmission or storage. Encryption guarantees that data is only available to those who have the appropriate passwords, preventing data leaks and theft. Prominently, understanding the various kinds of encryption techniques is essential nowadays. Even though several encryption techniques are available “The type of encryption to use” is determined by the degree of security needed and the type of data to be protected. In today’s digital world, awareness of strong cryptography methods spread for keeping data secure and private.

Janki Mehta

Janki Mehta

Janki Mehta is a passionate Cyber-Security Enthusiast who keenly monitors the latest developments in the Web/Cyber Security industry. She puts her knowledge into practice and helps web users by arming them with the necessary security measures to stay safe in the digital world.