Password Encryption

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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Common password encryption is also known as encryption from a symmetric key algorithm, or single key encryption. Broadly speaking, symmetric key encryption uses either a single algorithm or a pairing of closely related algorithms, or cryptographic keys, to encode and decode data. This key is commonly referred to as a shared secret key.

One of the main strengths of single key password encryption is that it is fast, and puts little strain on computer processors. It simply requires the use of a single key on both the sender's and the recipient's end. From that key, all of the relevant data is decoded and displayed at either terminal.

The major drawback of single key encryption is that, if a cryptographic adversary were to discover the password, the data could be stolen or altered. One solution is close key management, including changing the key often and through secure channels. Generally, key management techniques, no matter how effective, can be broken.

Dual-Password Encryption Systems

An alternative form of password encryption is asymmetric encryption, which requires two completely separate passwords, or keys. The sender's key is also commonly known as the public key, and can be exchanged or communicated almost freely. The recipient's key is a private, unique digital key, and is the only way to decrypt the data. While this type or password encryption is more secure, it is also more processor hungry, and sometimes requires multiple file transfers to complete.

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