# Difference between Symmetric Vs Asymmetric encryption?

Purpose Symmetric Encryption Asymmetric Encryption
Encryption: Uses a single key to encrypt and decrypt information. Uses a pair of public and private keys to encrypt and decrypt information.
Speed: Symmetric encryption performs faster Asymmetric encryption performs slower compared to symmetric encryption.
Algorithms: AES, RC4, DES, QUAD, 3DES, Blowfish, etc. Diffie-Hellman and RSA
Purpose: Preferred for transferring huge data Mostly used for exchanging secret keys safely.

Symmetric Key Encryption:
Encryption is a process to change the form of any message in order to protect it from reading by anyone. In Symmetric-key encryption the message is encrypted by using a key and the same key is used to decrypt the message which makes it easy to use but less secure. It also requires a safe method to transfer the key from one party to another.

Asymmetric Key Encryption:
Asymmetric Key Encryption is based on public and private key encryption technique. It uses two different key to encrypt and decrypt the message. It is more secure than symmetric key encryption technique but is much slower.
The basic difference between these two types of encryption is that symmetric encryption uses one key for both encryption and decryption, and the asymmetric encryption uses public key for encryption and a private key for decryption.

• Encryption is the process of scrambling data to make sure unintended recipients are not able to make any sense of the data.
• Two common encryption types are the symmetric and asymmetric encryption.

The basic difference between these two types of encryption is that symmetric encryption uses one key for both encryption and decryption, and the asymmetric encryption uses public key for encryption and a private key for decryption.

Let’s explore each of these encryption methods separately to understand their differences better.

Symmetric encryption

This is said to be the simplest and best-known encryption technique. As discussed already, it uses one key for both encryption and decryption.

• Because the algorithm behind symmetric encryption is less complex and executes faster, this is the preferred technique when transmitting data in bulk.
• The plaintext is encrypted using a key, and the same key is used at the receiving end to decrypt the received ciphertext. The host in the communication process would have received the key through external means.
• Widely used symmetric encryption algorithms include AES-128, AES-192, and AES-256.

Asymmetric encryption

This type of encryption is relatively new as compared to symmetric encryption, and is also referred to as public-key cryptography.

• Asymmetric encryption is considered to be more secure than symmetric encryption as it uses two keys for the process.
• The public key used for encryption is available to everyone but the private key is not disclosed.
• This encryption method is used in everyday communication over the internet.
• When a message is encrypted using a public key, it can only be decrypted using a private key. However, when a message is encrypted using a private key, it can be decrypted using a public key.
• Digital certificates in the client-server model can be used to discover public keys.
• The drawback of this encryption is that it takes more time than the symmetric encryption process.
• Common asymmetric encryption techniques include RSA, DSA, and PKCS.

Key differences

Now that we have a basic understanding of both the encryption types, let’s glance through the key differences between them.

• Symmetric encryption is an old technique, while asymmetric encryption is the newer one.
• Asymmetric encryption takes longer to execute because of the complex logic involved. For this reason, symmetric encryption is used when transmitting data in bulk.
• Asymmetric data is more secure because it uses different keys for the encryption and decryption process.

While both of these have their own pros and cons, asymmetric encryption is definitely a better choice from the security perspective.

Symmetric encryption is regarded as the most basic and well-known encryption method. It uses a single key for both encryption and decryption, as previously stated.

Asymmetric encryption uses a public-key cryptography and is a relatively recent concept.

The following are the key differences between Symmetric and Asymmetric encryption:

1.Basis: Encryption Key

Symmetric encryption – This encryption uses the same key for both encryption and decryption.

Asymmetric encryption – This encryption uses different keys for encryption and decryption.

2.Basis: Performance

Symmetric encryption – Encryption in a symmetric one is faster but is more vulnerable due to the homogeneity.

Asymmetric encryption – Due to high level of computation required in asymmetric encryption, it requires more time and is slower.

3.Basis: Algorithms used

Symmetric encryption - DES, 3DES, AES and RC4

Asymmetric encryption - Diffie-Hellman, RSA

4.Basis: Purpose

Symmetric encryption – Since, it is faster, symmetric encryption is used for bulk data transfer.

Asymmetric encryption – Since, it requires time and is complex, asymmetric encryption is mostly used for exchanging secret keys.