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Encryption and Data Integrity- Demystifying Symmetric Asymmetric Methods and Hashing

Encryption and Data Integrity- Demystifying Symmetric Asymmetric Methods and Hashing

Symmetric and Asymmetric Encryption

The two broad categories of encryption are symmetric and asymmetric encryption. Symmetric encryption is a strategy that utilizes the secret key, which in most cases can either be a word, a number, or a string of random letters. This strategy encompasses blending with the plain text of the message to change the content in a certain way. The secret key used in encrypting the message should be known by both the sender and recipient for encryption and decryption processes to occur seamlessly. Examples of symmetric encryption include DES, RC5, RC6, and AES (Dixit et al., 2018, p. 241).

On the other hand, asymmetric encryption uses two keys to encrypt plain text. Secret keys are exchanged between the sender and the receiver over a large network framework. This is important because it ensures that malicious persons do not misuse the keys. In this case, the message encrypted using a public key is decrypted using a private key, thus guaranteeing the security of the information while in transit (Dixit et al., 2018, p. 242). Examples of asymmetric encryption include DSA, RSA, ElGamal, and Elliptic curve techniques.

The Importance of Hashing or Message Digest

Various benefits come with adopting hashing within the organizational setting. One of the benefits of hashing is that it provides a more secure and adjustable data retrieval method than any other form of data structure. It makes it easier for the user to acquire certain aspects of information from the documents saved on the computer. The other important aspect of hashing is that passwords cannot be modified, stolen, or even jeopardized (Dixit et al., 2018). Notably, even when the hash code has been stolen, it cannot be applied anywhere.

Furthermore, hashing makes it possible for two files to be compared for equality. Hashing does not require the user to open these two files individually because hashing executes a word-by-word comparison (Dixit et al., 2018). Lastly, hashing is important because it can search the data’s location without applying the index structure, making the search process faster.

Collision and How it Affects Hashing

A collision is when more than one value is hashed by a certain hash function in the same data structure generated by the hash function. When collision impacts hashing in, an attacker may compromise the integrity and authenticity of digital signatures. This allows the hackers to cause various problems, such as committing fraud. Therefore, it is important for the hashing algorithms being utilized on various networks to contain some resistance to various sets of collisions.

Difference Between the MD5, SHA256 and SHA512 Hashing Algorithms

Despite the MD5, SHA256, and SHA512 hashing algorithms belonging to a similar category of cryptographic hashing algorithms, they also have some differences. For instance, MD5 is one of the earliest hashes that came into existence when computers were less powerful. Under this type of hash, reverse-engineering of the original message from the hash is possible within the shortest time using modern computers (Li et al., 2011). On the other hand, SHA256 and SHA512 are the newest forms of hashing algorithms that are harder to reverse engineer. The other variation relates to the number of bits used within the hashing algorithm. For instance, the MD5 hashing algorithm is composed of 128 bits. On the other hand, SHA256 comprises 256 bits, while SHA512 comprises 512 bits (Li et al., 2011). One would prefer using the SHA256 and SHA512 hashing algorithms because they provide maximum security of the data that is considered private and confidential.

PKI and Data Security

Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is a mechanism that uses certificates instead of Email IDs and Passwords for authentication purposes. This strategy guarantees the security of the data because it encrypts communication through the use of asymmetric encryption. The PKI’s management of the keys and certificates creates a highly secure environment where users can adopt applications and various devices (Albarqi et al., 2014). Subsequently, cryptography plays an important role in the public key infrastructure because it is used to verify identity and ensure that entities are authentic. PKI’s common uses that assure information security include signing and encrypting emails, securing shell, and the hypertext transfer protocol secure (HTTPS) (Albarqi et al., 2014). PKI is important as it safeguards the emails being sent and received. Securing the shell is significant because it verifies that the users and computers are the parties who claim to be. Lastly, HTTPS prevents the man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack from occurring on a network.

Authentication, Authorization, and Nonrepudiation

Authentication refers to the act of proving an existing assertion. It simply denotes that the individual is actually who he claims to be. This act has mostly been adopted by many computers, networks, or even email services where users must ascertain their identity (Albarqi et al., 2014). On the other hand, authorization specifies the access rights/privileges to resources belonging to authenticated users. Lastly, nonrepudiation is a method that provides message transmission between parties through an encryption process. Also, the term is a legal term that refers to a situation where an individual cannot deny the authorship of a document (Albarqi et al., 2014). Nonrepudiation methods include biometrics, signature, video, and receipt.


Albarqi, A., Alzaid, E., Al Ghamdi, F., Asiri, S., & Kar, J. (2014). Public key infrastructure: A survey. Journal of Information Security6(01), 31.

Dixit, P., Gupta, A. K., Trivedi, M. C., & Yadav, V. K. (2018). Traditional and hybrid encryption techniques: a survey. In Networking Communication and Data Knowledge Engineering: Volume 2 (pp. 239-248). Springer Singapore.

Li, P., Shrivastava, A., Moore, J., & König, A. (2011). Hashing algorithms for large-scale learning. Advances in neural information processing systems24.


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Write a 550-word summary and address the following:
• Describe symmetric and asymmetric encryption and provide examples.
• Explain why hashing or message digest is important.

Encryption and Data Integrity- Demystifying Symmetric Asymmetric Methods and Hashing

Encryption and Data Integrity- Demystifying Symmetric Asymmetric Methods and Hashing

• Describe what a collision is and how it affects hashing.
• Explain the difference between the MD5, SHA256, and SHA512 hashing algorithms and why you might want to use one over the other.
• Explain PKI and data security and describe what role cryptography plays in PKI. Identify some common uses of technology and how it is important in keeping information secure.
• Compare authentication, authorization, and nonrepudiation.

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