What is cryptography? Functionalities and types.


Protecting your data in the digital world. 3D illustration.

In computer science, cryptography refers to the technique of codes and encrypted writing systems to protect the transmission of private information, making it illegible or practically impossible to decipher for those who do not possess the key.

It works by using ciphers or codes to write something secret in documents and confidential data that circulate on local networks or on the internet. Its use is as ancient as writing itself. The Romans used codes to conceal their war plans from those who should not know them, ensuring that only people who knew the meaning of these codes could decipher the hidden message.

What is cryptography used for?

  • To authenticate user identity
  • To authenticate and protect the confidentiality of personal communications and commercial and banking transactions
  • To protect the integrity of electronic fund transfers

Types of cryptography:

In general, there are three types of cryptography:

Symmetric key cryptography:

  • It is an encryption system in which the sender and the receiver of the message use a single shared key to encrypt and decrypt the messages. Symmetric key systems are faster and simpler, but the challenge is that the sender and the receiver need to exchange the key securely in some way. The most popular symmetric key cryptography system is the Data Encryption Standard (DES).

Asymmetric Key Cryptography:

In this system, a pair of keys is used to encrypt and decrypt information. A public key is used for encryption, and a private key is used for decryption. The public key and private key are different. Even if someone knows the public key, only the intended recipient can decipher it because only they know the private key.


It is good to keep these concepts in mind as they are present in many of the applications and tools we use in our daily lives, especially those involving sensitive information.

By: Sergio Ramos

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