Symmetric Encryption vs. Asymmetric Encryption – How It Differs?
Here’s A General Difference Between Symmetric and Asymmetric Encryption
To further discuss these two, symmetric and asymmetric encryptions, let’s first start with the basics of both the encryption techniques and then we’ll get into the core part of this discussion, i.e., the comparison of the two.
What’s Symmetric Encryption?
Moreover, the most common usage of the symmetric encryption comes into the picture when an already encrypted connection is negotiated among a server and a client, which have an SSL/TLS certificate installed. Here, after the negotiation of the SSL connection, two-session keys of 256-bit are created and shared so the encrypted connection can occur.
Nonetheless, it does have the disadvantage that all the involved parties must exchange the secret key, which is used for encrypting the data before it can be decrypted.
What’s Asymmetric Encryption?
Nevertheless, asymmetric encryption is used for day-to-day communication channels over the internet. Some of the popular asymmetric encryption algorithms are such as PKCS, RSA, DSA, ElGamal, and Elliptic curve techniques. And among these algorithms, RSA and Diffie-Hellman are widely used.
Here’s How Asymmetric Encryption is Used with Digital Certificates
So, whenever a client and a server need a secured encrypted communication, they’ll send a query to the third-party via the network, which will send back the certificate’s copy from which other party’s public key can be extracted. Moreover, that certificate is also helpful for uniquely identifying the holder.
SSL/TLS certificates are one of the examples, which use both asymmetric as well as symmetric that are digitally signed and issued by trusted CAs (Certificate Authorities) like Sectigo, Comodo, Thawte, RapidSSL.
Let’s see in detail how Symmetric and Asymmetric encryption differs from each other by having a side by side comparison table of Symmetric Encryption vs. Asymmetric Encryption.
|Factors||Symmetric Encryption||Asymmetric Encryption|
|Cryptographic Keys||Symmetric encryption consists of only one cryptographic key (also called a shared secret key) for both encryptions as well as decryption.||Asymmetric encryption has two different cryptographic keys, the public key, and private key pair.|
|Difficulty||Compared to Asymmetric encryption, symmetric encryption is quite easy to use as it has the only key to operate both the operations.||Due to two separate keys for processing encryption and decryption, asymmetric encryption is quite complex.|
|Execution Speed||Symmetric encryption is fast because of the single cryptographic key for both the operations.||Asymmetric encryption is a bit slower because two different keys are assigned to operate different operations, encryption, and decryption.|
|Hardware||Suitable for performing simple algorithms that require economical hardware.||Suitable for complex and time-consuming algorithms that need powerful hardware.|
|Functionality||Offers secured communication between two parties in a closed ecosystem.||It provides hard to implement security in a way which is not mostly possible by symmetric encryption.|
|Purpose||Symmetric encryption is mostly used for the transmission of bulk data.||Asymmetric encryption is mostly used for securely exchanging secret keys.|
Other Use Case of Symmetric & Asymmetric Encryption
Here end-to-end encryption, which helps keep the messages safe from unauthorized third parties, including the vendors, makes use of both symmetric and asymmetric encryption. Asymmetric encryption comes into action at the time of initializing encrypted conversation between the users, whereas symmetric encryption comes in for the duration of the communication.
Moreover, when it comes to securing online sessions using encryption, the latest algorithms are the best fit for it. Usually, the most recent encryption algorithms must be prioritized depending upon the task. Moreover, new algorithms are developed for reducing online threats such as eavesdroppers for securing information and enhancing confidentiality. So, it’s rightly said that users will get more updates from the cryptographic community in the coming time.
Important Resources to Read
- Digital Signature vs. Electronic Signature – Learn the Difference
- Difference Between Digital Signature and Digital Certificate
- Public Key Encryption – What Is It & How SSL/TLS Certificate Uses to Provide Secure Connection
- Guide to SSL Offloading – What Is It? How It Works & Benefits It Offers
- The SSL/TLS Handshake – Know the Process
- Hashing vs Encryption