- Asymmetric Key encryption, also known as public/private key encryption, it utilizes a pair of keys – a public key and a private key. If you encrypt data with the public key, only the holder of the corresponding private key can decrypt the data, hence ensuring confidentiality. Online transaction systems rely on asymmetric encryption to establish a secure channel. SSL, for example, is a protocol that utilizes asymmetric encryption to provide communication security on the Internet. An asymmetric encryption algorithms typically involve exponential operations, they are not lightweight in terms of performance. For that reason, asymmetric algorithms are often used to secure key exchanges rather than used for bulk data encryption.
- Symmetric encryption – As the name suggests, means that the encryption and decryption operations utilize the same key. For two communicating parties using symmetric encryption for secure communication, the key represents a shared secret between the two. Symmetric encryption is typically more efficient than asymmetric encryption, and is often used for bulk data encryption.
SSL typically uses Asymmetric public private keys for initial hand shake and then later utilizes Symmetric key for for further communication post hand shake.
SSL has been explained in earlier blog post