There are many data encryption algorithms that you can use to protect information. We have explained top 5 best encryption algorithms to shape the future of cryptography.
Encryption algorithm is a backbone of any SSL certificate. Encryption encodes the information between the server and the client and authorizes only person to decode it. The recent pandemic has pushed organizations to acknowledge the need for an encryption algorithm and the worldwide spending on security is exceeded $150B in 2021. According to Arvix report, there has been 600% rise in cybercrime activities during Covid-19.
Many businesses have started to operate from home, and it increases the chances of data security. Many employees ignore data security, and they are prone to cyber-attacks. Even many organizational infrastructures reliant on legacy systems were not prepared for advanced cyber threats.
Therefore, encryption of data is quintessential for your business in the present scenario, and that is why in this informative article, we will discuss some of the best encryption algorithms. But, first, let’s understand how encryption protects your data?
How Does Encryption work?
Encryption of data is a process of protecting the information through encoding. Algorithms scramble the data and are decrypted through an authentication key provided by the originator of the message or file.
Data security and integrity depend on the algorithm used for encryption. As the encrypted data needs a key for access, it remains secure and confidential. Algorithms are also popularly known as ciphers and are not new.
From the first world war to the cold war and modern encryption technology, ciphers have evolved. According to a report, 54% of modern-day businesses use data encryptions to protect customers’ data. However, each encryption process ends in decryption.
While an algorithm encrypts the data, a decryptor does the opposite. It unlocks the data and makes the information accessible. However, a decryption process is worthless without the key. Decryption keys are of different lengths, like 128 bits or 256 bits for private keys, and the longest being 2048 bits for the public keys.
There are two major cryptography key systems used to generate decryption keys,
It is a type of encryption where a single key is generated to encrypt and decrypt the information. The key is exchanged between the originator and receiver for the decryption of data.
The symmetric encryption method ensures that the data is not accessible to anyone without a unique pass on by the originators. Such a key can be a string of alphabetic or numeric digits generated through a secure random number generator (RNG).
Also known as public-key cryptography, it is a different type of encryption than the symmetric system. Here, a pair of keys is generated with one public key and another private key. Data can be encrypted only through a public key. Similarly, the private or secret key in the pair decrypts the data.
When someone wants to send an encrypted file or message, they need to access the recipient’s public key from a directory of such keys. The recipient can access such encrypted information through their related private key only.
Let’s take a practical example to understand how encryption works.
If you want to encrypt a message like, “Hello there how are you?” the algorithm will create a string of code like, “iJ+ev5Lyo/4h6mEgiuedrdlNxd8r789AFar0TJiAe1o=”. As this is a symmetric key, you can use it to decrypt the message.
There are many cryptography algorithms that you can use for encryption. Let’s discuss some of the significant ones.
#1. Triple DES
Triple DES (TDEA) is an upgraded version of the DES algorithm, which came into force to overcome the issues of its earlier version DES algorithm. It triples the strength of the algorithm by applying the algorithm three times to each data block. This makes 3DES stronger than its previous version. 3DES is mainly used in the finance industry. 3DES is also a part of cryptographic protocols like SSH, IPsec. However, Sweet32 vulnerability was found in the 3DES algorithm and made it vulnerable. Earlier, Microsoft used 3DES for MS OneNote, Outlook 2007 for password-protected content and other system data. With the introduction of the Office 365 service, Microsoft discontinued the 3DES algorithm.
After a vulnerability is found, the NIST recommended users switch to the AES algorithm. Even the text size to be encrypted is reduced from 232 to 220 (64-bit) blocks. As per the draft of the NIST, 3DES in all new applications will be trashed after the 2023 year. However, the new version of TLS 1.3 has also discontinued the usage of 3DES.
AES stands for Advanced Encryption System. It is an alternative for the DES algorithm, which was deprecated due to Sweet32 vulnerability. AES algorithm was approved in the 2021 year. The algorithm comprises different key lengths and block sizes ciphers. AES replaced DES due to its smaller key size. DES was seemed vulnerable due to a “key search attack.” AES is a more robust algorithm than a 3DES algorithm. The key size comes in 128/192/256-bit key formats. The software implementation was done in ‘C’ and ‘Java’ language.
AES is based on the substitution and permutation process. Here substitution means a series of linked operations from which some inputs are replaced with outputs while permutation involves shuffling of bits in the algorithm. AES is a symmetric block cipher that carries a 128-bit block size. As a result, AES is more secure than the DES algorithm.
#3. RSA Security
Modern computers use RSA for encoding and decoding information. It is an asymmetric algorithm that works on a public key and a private key. It is also named public key cryptography. In RSA security, a public key is known to everyone, while a private key is kept secret to decode the information. When any message is encrypted with a public key then, a private key only decrypts that message. If a private key is compromised, the whole motto of encryption does fail.
Hackers will need high processing power and a significant amount of time to break the RSA encryption. The strength of the encryption depends upon the key size. When a key size gets doubled, the strength of an encryption increases. RSA key can be 2048-bit or 3072-bit in size. Earlier, 1024-bit was used, but somehow it was found vulnerable against attack.
Blowfish is a symmetric key block cipher designed in 1993 used for a general purpose. Blowfish was designed to overcome the issue of the DES algorithm. The algorithm was placed in the public domain, and anyone can use it freely. The algorithm has a 64-bit block size, and the key length varies from 32-bit to 448-bit in size. It works on Feistel structure uses 16-bit round cipher and is the best permutation method in cipher-related encryption. In the Blowfish algorithm, a single key is used to encrypt and decrypt the information.
Blowfish is a free and rapid algorithm that processes a massive amount of data and can be used in computer and mobile processors. Blowfish works in two parts: key expanding and data encryption. Upon receiving the request, the algorithm converts a 448-bit key into subkeys and makes it significant of 4168 bytes. However, Blowfish is outdated in some applications; it can be used effectively like password management, backup tools, Linux OS, file and disk encryption.
Twofish is a replacement for the Blowfish algorithm. It is symmetric encryption that works on a single key which is used for encryption and decryption. The algorithm has a 128-bit block size and can accept a 256-bit key length. Therefore, Twofish is suitable for network applications where frequent keys change with no ROM/RAM availability. In this algorithm, one-half of an n-bit key is used for the actual encryption key, while the other half of the key is used to alter the encryption algorithm. However, NIST has recommended not using the Twofish algorithm as it is slightly slower than the Rijndael encryption algorithm (AES). But Twofish uses a 128-bit key and is safe against brute force attacks.
According to Bruce Schneier, there is not yet any practical break made on the Twofish algorithm. Twofish is mainly used in PGP algorithm, GnuPG implementation, TrueCrypt, and KeePass.
Future scope of Encryption
There are more than 6 billion smartphone users worldwide, which increases the amount of data over the internet. So, data encryptions need to be advanced and complex to break for consumer information protection. Furthermore, as cyber threats evolve and become invasive, algorithms will need reliable innovations to protect the data.