Encryption is crucial for the information security field. An algorithm and a key are necessary elements of encryption, as without them it is impossible to know how a message is encrypted. Cryptographic algorithms have two types that are symmetric key cryptography and asymmetric key cryptography. This presentation will first discuss strengths and weaknesses of each type of cryptography and then will provide ways in which attackers and criminals use encryption to pursue their goals.
Symmetric Key Cryptography in Cybersecurity
The symmetric key or the “secret key” cryptography uses the same key for both encryption decryption operations (Fruhlinger, 2020). Such method makes the use of key easier as there is only one code to be learned. Private keys used in the symmetric key cryptography are resistant to brute force attacks as it is difficult to crack (Hussein et al., 2016). Moreover, the symmetric key algorithms use less computing power to be coded, making encryption processes accessible. However, the major weakness of the secret key cryptography is the necessity for proper transition of private keys (Hussein et al., 2016). The transition should be performed in a secure manner like face-to-face meeting or on other ways that create some complications. As an example of where the symmetric cryptography can be used is payment applications where PII of cards needs to be protected.
Asymmetric Key Cryptography in Cybersecurity
Unlike symmetric key, the asymmetric key or public key cryptography uses different keys for encryption and decryption processes. The defence of asymmetric algorithm does not rely on single key but may include many. Public key cryptography allows more data to be exchanged due to its sizable advantage (Yassein et al., 2017). Due to the use of different keys, there is no need to seek ways of secretly swapping keys, thus the asymmetric algorithm is more secure compared to the symmetric key cryptography. On the other hand, creating keys for such algorithm is costly because of their unique nature. Moreover, the asymmetric keys are longer than in the symmetric key cryptography in providing equivalent security (Yassein et al., 2017). As such, more computational power is needed to create keys and algorithms. An example of the use of asymmetric key cryptography is email security where passwords and messages should be stored.
Misuse of Encryption and Cryptography by attackers and criminals
Encryption is not only used for security purposes but also illegal activities. Attackers and various criminals are now managing to hack information services. For example, they may encrypt their messages to hide from the governmental structures. In addition, criminals may apply mirror writing to get access to secure data or passwords, leading to major losses of entities (Gençoğlu, 2019). One more way how attackers and criminals can use cryptography is to encrypt emails and files. By applying specific methods, they can crack the exchange of keys, thus altering codes and getting information they needed.
To conclude, both symmetric and asymmetric encryptions are accurate ways to secure data for businesses structures. What type of cryptography to use is determined by each organization and its requirements. The symmetric key cryptography applies same key for encryption and decryption operations, while the asymmetric key has different keys. Business structures should not rely only on encryption but also monitor securitization of information by their own, as cryptography types have weaknesses. Moreover, encryption can be used for illegal purposes by attackers and criminals.
Gençoğlu, M. T. (2019). Importance of Cryptography in Information Security. IOSR J. Comput. Eng, 21(1), 65-68.
Hussein, N. H., Khalid, A., & Khanfar, K. (2016). A survey of cryptography cloud storage techniques. International Journal of Computer Science and Mobile Computing, 5(2), 186-191.
Fruhlinger, J. (2020). What is cryptography? How algorithms keep information secret and safe.
Yassein, M. B., Aljawarneh, S., Qawasmeh, E., Mardini, W., & Khamayseh, Y. (2017). Comprehensive study of symmetric key and asymmetric key encryption algorithms. 2017 international conference on engineering and technology. 1-7.