Public-key cryptography, also known as asymmetric cryptography, involves using two keys: a private key and a public key.
These keys encrypt and decrypt data, ensuring its confidentiality and integrity.
In this cryptographic system, a plaintext message is encrypted using the recipient’s public key, obtained from a public directory.
The encrypted message can only be decrypted using the corresponding private key, which is kept secret by the recipient.
Public-key cryptography offers several key benefits:
- High Data Security: Public-key cryptography provides strong data security as it is practically impossible to determine the decryption key with only the cryptographic algorithm and the encryption key.
- Reduced Key Exposure: Unlike private-key cryptography, public-key cryptography does not require users to share their private keys, reducing the risk of cybercriminals discovering the secret key during transmission.
- Convenient Encryption and Digital Signatures: Public-key cryptography allows users to encrypt information and securely store digital signatures without relying on third parties.
However, there are some disadvantages to consider:
- Performance: Public-key cryptography is generally slower compared to specific private-key cryptography methods. Combining public-key cryptography with secret vital systems can overcome this limitation.
- Vulnerability to Spoofing and Compromised Accreditation Bodies: Attacks can occur when cybercriminals spoof or compromise accreditation bodies, associating a public key with another user’s name.
- Risk of Private Key Loss: If a user loses their private key, it can lead to difficulties in accessing encrypted data, making public-key encryption highly susceptible in such cases.