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Q: What are the differences between symmetric and asymmetric key encryption?

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Symmetric cryptography uses the same secret (private) key to encrypt and decrypt its data whereas asymmetric uses both a public and private key. Symmetric requires that the secret key be known by the party encrypting the data and the party decrypting the data. Asymmetric allows for distribution of your public key to anyone with which they can encrypt the data they want to send securely and then it can only be decoded by the person having the private key. This eliminates the need of having to give someone the secret key (as with symmetric encryption) and risk having it compromised. The issue with asymmetric is that it is about 1000 times slower than symmetric encryption which makes it impractical when trying to encrypt large amounts of data. Also to get the same security strength as symmetric, asymmetric must use strong a stronger key than symmetric. If you do a quick search on the differences between symmetric and asymmetric you can find many more explanations. This just a quick overview.

Symmetric encryption is a single shared, private key between communicating nodes. There is only 1 key involved. Public Key encryption (or asymmetric encryption) requires a pair of keys; a public and a private key for exchanging data in a secure manner.

Symmetric EncryptionIn symmetric encryption, also known as shared key encryption, the sender and recipient of a message share a single general password, pass phrase or key. In other words, data is encrypted and decrypted using the same key. Symmetric encryption algorithms are simpler, quicker and require fewer computer resources, such as processing power and memory, than asymmetric encryption algorithms. However, they cannot be used unless the sender and recipient have already exchanged encryption keys.Asymmetric EncryptionIn asymmetric encryption, also known a public/private encryption, two associated keys, known as public and private keys, are used to encrypt and decrypt data. The public key is distributed freely to anybody who might want to send a message, but the private key is kept secret and never distributed. Asymmetric encryption algorithms are more complex and slower .

From another user: Symmetric cryptography uses the same secret (private) key to encrypt and decrypt its data whereas asymmetric uses both a public and private key. Symmetric requires that the secret key be known by the party encrypting the data and the party decrypting the data. Asymmetric allows for distribution of your public key to anyone with which they can encrypt the data they want to send securely and then it can only be decoded by the person having the private key. This eliminates the need of having to give someone the secret key (as with symmetric encryption) and risk having it compromised. The issue with asymmetric is that it is about 1000 times slower than symmetric encryption which makes it impractical when trying to encrypt large amounts of data. Also to get the same security strength as symmetric, asymmetric must use strong a stronger key than symmetric.

Symmetric encryption requires a single key known only to the authorized parties. Asymmetric encryption uses a pair of keys, one key available publicly (the "public key" and one key k(the "private key" or "secret key" own only to the person the public key belongs to. Symmetric encryption uses the same key to both encrypt and decrypt. Asymmetric encryption uses one key to encrypt and a different one to decrypt. If the owner is encrypting, they use the private key to encrypt and the recipient uses the corresponding public key to decrypt the message. If the owner is the recipient, the sender uses the public key to encrypt and the owner/recipeint uses their private key to decrypt.

Asymmetric is the opposite of symmetric

Symmetric means the same each side, assymetric is different each side.

"secret key" is usually used to refer to a shared key used in symmetric encryption while "private key" is used to refer to the key retained by the user from the key pair generated for use in an asymmetric encryption algorithm. It gets confusing sometimes because the "private key" of asymmetric encryption is often referred to as a "secret key" because the owner keeps it secret.

I believe you are asking about "symmetric vs asymmetric" cryptography. In a symmetric cryptographic cipher both parties must use the same key for encryption and decryption. This means that the encryption key must be shared between the parties before any decryption of the message can take place. This transfer of the shared key opens the door for potential detection of the key. These are commonly referred to as "shared secret systems" or "private key systems". In an asymmetric cipher, the encryption key and the decryption keys are separate. In an asymmetric system, each person has two keys. One key, the public key, is shared publicly. The second key, the private key, should never be shared with anyone. When you send a message using asymmetric cryptography, you encrypt the message using the recipients public key. The recipient then decrypts the message using his private key. That is why the system is called asymmetric. Because asymmetric ciphers tend to be significantly more computationally intensive, they are usually used in combination with symmetric ciphers to implement effect public key cryptography. The asymmetric cipher is used to encrypt a session key and the encrypted session key is then used to encrypt the actual message. This gives the key-exchange benefits of asymmetric ciphers with the speed of symmetric ciphers. Examples of symmetric ciphers are AES and DES. Examples of asymmetric cipers are RSA and Diffie Hellman.

Symmetric means that the design of the image is balanced and both sides are equal. An asymmetric image is when the design does not repeat itself so if you fold it in half the designs will not meet in the same areas.

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