Encryption Software

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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There are a variety of encryption software programs available, each with a different specialized use. Some are meant to encrypt and decrypt messages and other transmitted data, while others are meant to secure individual systems from prying eyes or against the possibility of identity theft. Most use some form of either symmetric or asymmetric key algorithms, and have their roots in the Multics, a computer operating system that was developed in the 1960s by GE and MIT.

Multics security was far from perfect, but it provided the crucial groundwork for later encryption software. Symmetric and asymmetric coding algorithms followed, and asymmetric key algorithms that use a method called RSA were made public in 1976 by a group of researchers at MIT. Most encryption software that uses asymmetric keys are still based on the research of the RSA team, and many experts predict that the current 1024-bit standard for RSA encryption software will not be obsolete for some time.

Asymmetric and Symmetric Key Encryption Software

Asymmetric key algorithms operate by assigning each user a unique digital key. Separate keys are required to both encrypt and decrypt the information, which increases computational time, but decreases the risk of the passwords being discovered and the information or network being hacked. Many encryption software programs use a combination of both asymmetric and symmetric key algorithms.

Because they require only the use of a single key, encryption and decryption using symmetric key algorithms can be as much as 100 times faster to process. This makes them ideal for large networks of sensitive information. When used with effective key management methods (for controlling user access to the keys, and changing the keys often), symmetric keys can provide adequate security for many applications.


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