# What is Cryptography?

Cryptography is a method of converting normal text into an unreadable format that only authorized individuals can read. This technique has been used for centuries to protect sensitive information from being intercepted by unauthorized individuals.

## Techniques used for cryptography

Cryptography uses various techniques to convert plaintext into ciphertext and vice versa. It is the art of keeping information secure and confidential by converting it into an unreadable format. To achieve this, various techniques are used to encrypt and decrypt messages, making it difficult for unauthorized individuals to access the original information. We will explore the most common techniques used in cryptography and how they work to ensure the security of sensitive information.

**Common techniques used in cryptography **

- substitution ciphers
- Transposition ciphers
- Number theory
- Block ciphers
- Stream ciphers
- Hash functions

### 1) Substitution Ciphers

This technique involves replacing each letter of the plaintext with another letter, symbol, or number to create the ciphertext. One of the simplest examples of a substitution cipher is the Caesar cipher, where each letter of the plaintext is shifted by a certain number of places to create the ciphertext.

Another example is the Polyalphabetic cipher, which uses multiple alphabets to encrypt the message. The security of substitution ciphers depends on the secrecy of the substitution rule.

### 2) Transposition Ciphers

This technique involves rearranging the order of the letters in the plaintext to create the ciphertext. The Rail Fence cipher is one of the simplest examples of a transposition cipher, where the plaintext is written in a zigzag pattern to create the ciphertext. Another example is the Columnar Transposition cipher, where the plaintext is written in columns and then rearranged to create the ciphertext. Transposition ciphers are relatively easy to break, but they can be strengthened by combining them with substitution ciphers.

### 3) Number Theory

This technique involves using mathematical algorithms based on number theory to encrypt and decrypt messages. The RSA algorithm is one of the most widely used number theory-based cryptography techniques. It uses two large prime numbers to create a public and a private key, which are used to encrypt and decrypt messages. The security of the RSA algorithm depends on the difficulty of factoring large numbers.

### 4) Block Ciphers

This technique involves dividing the plaintext into fixed-size blocks and then using a mathematical algorithm to encrypt each block separately. The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is one of the most widely used block ciphers, and it uses a symmetric key to encrypt the data. The security of block ciphers depends on the complexity of the algorithm and the length of the key.

### 5) Stream Ciphers

This technique involves encrypting the plaintext one bit or one byte at a time. Stream ciphers are often used in real-time applications, such as securing communication channels. One of the simplest examples of a stream cipher is the XOR cipher, which uses the binary XOR operation to encrypt the data. The security of stream ciphers depends on the quality of the random number generator used to generate the keystream.

### 6) Hash Functions

This technique involves converting the plaintext into a fixed-length code, called a hash, that can be used for digital signatures, data integrity checks, and other purposes. The SHA-256 and MD5 algorithms are examples of hash functions. Hash functions are one-way functions, which means that it is computationally infeasible to generate the original message from the hash. The security of hash functions depends on the collision resistance of the algorithm, which means that it should be difficult to find two different messages that have the same hash.

## Types of Cryptography: Different Methods of Encryption

We will explore the different types of cryptography and provide a simple and easy-to-understand explanation of each one. From symmetric cryptography to asymmetric cryptography, hash-based cryptography, and stream cryptography, we will take a deep dive into the different methods of encryption and how they are used to keep information secure

**Different types of cryptography:**

**Symmetric cryptography**: In this type of cryptography, the same key is used for both encryption and decryption.**Asymmetric cryptography**: Also known as public-key cryptography, this type of cryptography uses two different keys for encryption and decryption. One key is used to encrypt the information, while the other is used to decrypt it.**Hash-based cryptography**: This type of cryptography uses mathematical algorithms to produce a fixed-size string of characters, known as a hash, from an input of any size. The hash is then used to ensure the integrity of the data.**Stream cryptography**: This type of cryptography uses a keystream generator to produce a keystream, which is then combined with the plaintext to produce the ciphertext.**Block cryptography**: This type of cryptography encrypts data in fixed-size blocks, rather than in a continuous stream of characters.**Transposition cryptography**: This type of cryptography rearranges the order of characters in a message without changing the actual characters themselves.**Substitution cryptography**: This type of cryptography replaces individual characters in a message with different characters or symbols to produce the ciphertext.

## Types of Cryptography: In Detail

Now we can look at each **type of cryptography** in more detail and let’s understand the Different Methods of Encryption

### 1) Symmetric Cryptography

Symmetric cryptography, also known as shared-key cryptography, uses a single key to encrypt and decrypt information. This key must be shared between the sender and the recipient, and it is used to encrypt the plaintext into ciphertext, which can then be decrypted back into the original plaintext using the same key. Symmetric cryptography is fast and efficient, making it ideal for encrypting large amounts of data, but it also has the disadvantage of requiring that the key be shared securely between the sender and recipient.

### 2) Asymmetric Cryptography

Asymmetric cryptography, also known as public-key cryptography, uses two different keys for encryption and decryption. One key, known as the public key, is used to encrypt the information, while the other key, known as the private key, is used to decrypt it. This type of cryptography provides a high level of security, as the private key can be kept secret, while the public key can be freely shared. This makes it ideal for secure communication over the internet, as it allows for the secure exchange of information between parties who have never met.

### 3) Hash-based Cryptography

Hash-based cryptography uses mathematical algorithms to produce a fixed-size string of characters, known as a hash, from an input of any size. The hash is then used to ensure the integrity of the data, as it can be used to verify that the data has not been tampered with or altered in any way. This type of cryptography is commonly used in digital signatures and to verify the authenticity of software updates.

### 4) Stream Cryptography

Stream cryptography uses a keystream generator to produce a keystream, which is then combined with the plaintext to produce the ciphertext. This type of cryptography is fast and efficient, making it ideal for real-time applications, such as encrypting audio and video streams.

### 5) Block Cryptography

Block cryptography encrypts data in fixed-size blocks, rather than in a continuous stream of characters. This type of cryptography provides a high level of security, as it makes it more difficult for an attacker to guess the key by analyzing patterns in the ciphertext. Block cryptography is commonly used in the encryption of large amounts of data, such as in full-disk encryption for computers.

### 6) Transposition Cryptography

Transposition cryptography rearranges the order of characters in a message without changing the actual characters themselves. This type of cryptography is relatively simple and easy to implement, but it also provides limited security, as it can be easily broken by attackers who are able to analyze patterns in the ciphertext.

### 7) Substitution Cryptography

Substitution cryptography replaces individual characters in a message with different characters or symbols to produce the ciphertext. This type of cryptography is relatively simple and easy to implement, but it also provides limited security, as it can be easily broken by attackers who are able to analyze patterns in the ciphertext.

- What is Cryptography? It’s types - February 9, 2023