Security in networking is based on cryptography, the science and art of transforming messages to make them secure and immune to attack. Cryptography can provide several aspects of security related to the interchange of messages through networks. These aspects are confidentiality, integrity, authentication, and nonrepudiation.
Cryptography can provide confidentiality, integrity, authentication, and non repudiation of messages. Cryptography, a word with Greek origins, means "secret writing." However, we use the term to refer to the science and art of transforming messages to make them secure and immune to attacks.
Plaintext and Ciphertext
The original message, before being transformed, is called plaintext. After the message is transformed, it is called ciphertext. An encryption algorithm transforms the plaintext into ciphertext; a decryption algorithm transforms the ciphertext back into plaintext. The sender uses an encryption algorithm, and the receiver uses a decryption algorithm.
We can divide all the cryptography algorithms (ciphers) into two groups: symmetric key (also called secret-key) cryptography algorithms and asymmetric (also called public-key) cryptography algorithms.
a. SymmetricÂ·Key Cryptography
In symmetric-key cryptography, the same key is used by both parties. The sender uses this key and an encryption algorithm to encrypt data; the receiver uses the same key and the corresponding decryption algorithm to decrypt the data
b. Asymmetric-Key Cryptography
In asymmetric or public-key cryptography, there are two keys: a private key and a public key. The private key is kept by the receiver. The public key is announced to the public. In public-key encryption/decryption, the public key that is used for encryption is different from the private key that is used for decryption. The public key is available to the public; the private key is available only to an individual.