## Introduction to Symmetric Key Encryption

Symmetric key encryption is defined as the type of encryption technique where only one secret key which is also the secret key is used for encryption and decryption of electronic messages.

These are the algorithms that are used in the case of cryptography and makes use of the same kind of keys for all kinds of encryption techniques which are related to both encryption of plaintext as well as decryption of the block ciphertext. The keys may be identical in shape and structure or there may be a simple kind of transformation that is involved when you go between keys. The keys as a whole, are used to represent a shared secret between one or two parties which can be effectively used to maintain an information link on a private basis. This construction where both parties have equal access over the secret key is a critical drawback of symmetry based encryption.

This is not the case with the asymmetric key encryption or the public key-based encryption technique. The symmetric keys can make use of either the block ciphers or stream ciphers. When you make use of this encryption, you ensure that the data is converted to an encrypted form that cannot be understood by anybody who doesn’t have the access to the secret key for decryption. Once the intended recipient who has the access to that key possesses the message, we make sure that the algorithm reverses the action state such that the message is returned back to the original and understandable form.

### Understanding

- As we have already mentioned in the case of symmetric key encryption technique only a single key which is also known as the secret key is used for both the encryption and decryption of electronic information. Therefore both the entities which are participating in the process of symmetric key encryption must make sure that a single key is shared among both the groups of parties. This one is a less reliable method if compared with the asymmetric key encryption as this technique makes use of both the public as well as the private keys for the decryption and encryption purposes.
- In the case of symmetric key encryption, the secret key which is possessed by both the parties can be anything such as a passcode or a password or it can also be the random string of letters or numbers which have been generated by a secure random number generator (RNG). This RNG is used for critical applications such as banking based encryption where the symmetric keys must be developed by making use of RNG which is also an industry-wide standard such as FIPS 140-2.

### How does symmetric key encryption make working so easy

The symmetric key encryption does not have to rely on separate private and public keys as is the case with the asymmetric key encryption technology. It makes use of a simple shared key that can be used for the transfer of the data and information by making use of encryption and decryption algorithms. Therefore there is comparatively a lesser complexity involved with the decryption of a single key than to decrypt two keys and therefore it is an easier approach to work with.

### What can you do with symmetric key encryption?

This can be used in the case of RC6, DES, RC5, AES, RC4, Blowfish, Twofish, CAST5, Serpent, 3DES, Skipjack, IDEA, Safer++, etc. This is generally used to achieve many cryptographic primitives than normal or basic encryption techniques. When you encrypt a message you cannot guarantee that the message content will not be changed when encrypted. Therefore a message authentication code is added along with the ciphertext to make sure that the changes which are made to the ciphertext will be well efficiently noted by the receiver side.

### Advantages

1. **Extremely secure:** This algorithm is an extremely secure algorithm as only one key is being put to use for all kinds of transactions.

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2. **Relatively fast: **This is a faster algorithm as not much complex structure is involved with these algorithms.

3. **Easier and a lesser complex structure:** This algorithm is more efficient and it also relatively has a lesser complex structure.

### Why should we use symmetric key encryption?

We should be making use of this encryption as this makes sure that the security is not compromised which is a key standard and specifically for all the banking based applications and other critical data-intensive firms. We should also make use of this algorithm due to its comparatively faster pace when compared to other algorithms of the same league.

### Future Scope

The scope of these keys is that they are generated which are used with multiple given suits of algorithms, specifically called the cryptosystems to lie till the fact these algorithms are being used for doing one transaction or for sending and receiving one or the other form of a message packet. As soon as the data is delivered to the intended recipient the symmetric key encryption scope disappears as the key is then destroyed and a fresh key is created for a different set of data.

### Why do we need it?

Data is critical and securing data is one of the major challenges which big enterprises and banks are struggling with today. The plain text form of data can be easily tampered and played around with, by an attacker or a hacker. Therefore securing these critical pieces of information becomes mandatory and then algorithms and techniques such as symmetric key encryption come into play.

### How symmetric key encryption technology is going to help you in career growth?

Securing data is one of the primary challenges which many businesses have been facing today. Therefore if you learn techniques such as symmetric or asymmetric key encryption techniques you can see your way going through in cyber forensics department, crypt- departments, ethical hacking, and other DoD based research institutes.

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