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10 November 2011

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Cryptography and Its Types

Cryptography is the practice and study of techniques for secure communication in the presence of third parties (called adversaries). In this, conversion of recognizable data into an encrypted code for transmitting it over a network (either trusted or untrusted) takes place. Data is encrypted at the source, i.e. sender's end and decrypted at the destination, i.e. receiver's end.
In all cases, the initial unencrypted data is referred to as plaintext. It is encrypted into cipher text, which will in turn (usually) be decrypted into usable plaintext using different encryption algorithms.

The Purpose of it :

1) Authentication : The process of proving one's identity. 
2) Privacy/confidentiality : Ensuring that no one can read the message except the intended receiver. 
3) Integrity : Assuring the receiver that the received message has not been altered in any way from the original. 
4) Non-repudiation : A mechanism to prove that the sender really sent this message.

In general, cryptographic algorithms are classified into three main categories given below :

1) Symmetric Key Cryptography (SKC) : Symmetric-key cryptography refers to encryption methods in which both the sender and receiver share the same key (or, less commonly, in which their keys are different, but related in an easily computable way). This was the only kind of encryption publicly known until June 1976. Uses a single key for both encryption and decryption.
2) Public Key Cryptography (PKC) : Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman proposed the notion of public-key Cryptography. Uses one key for encryption and another for decryption.
3) Hash Functions : Uses a mathematical transformation to irreversibly "encrypt" information.

That’s it !

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