Understanding Cryptography Algorithms

September 28, 2022
Understanding Cryptography Algorithms

Cryptographic algorithms

A mathematical process called a cryptographic algorithm is used to alter data to secure it.

Cypher algorithms

An incoherent piece of data (ciphertext) is created by converting understandable information (plaintext) into an unintelligible amount of data (ciphertext), which may then be converted back into plaintext.

Two categories of cypher algorithms exist:


An asymmetric or secret key algorithm uses a key that two communication parties exchange secretly. The same key is used throughout both encryption and decryption. Strictly speaking, symmetric key algorithms use keys that are symmetric to each other.

Two categories of symmetric vital algorithms exist:

Block cypher

The cypher algorithm uses a fixed-size block of data in a block cypher. For instance, eight bytes of plaintext will be encrypted if the block size is eight. By continuously using the low-level encryption function, the user interface for the encrypt/decrypt process often manages data that is longer than the block size.

Stream cypher

Instead of converting data in blocks, stream cyphers do it one bit (or one byte) at a time. In essence, a stream cypher creates a keystream using the supplied key. The plaintext data and the resulting keystream are then XORed.


A pair of keys is used using an asymmetric or public key algorithm (PKA). The private key, one of the keys, is kept confidential and is not disclosed to anybody. The other key, known as the public key, is open to everyone and is not kept hidden. Data can only be decrypted and retrieved using a different key once it has been encrypted using one of the keys. The private key cannot be derived from the public key despite the two keys’ mathematical relationship. A general key algorithm is something like the RSA algorithm.

Compared to symmetric key algorithms, essential public methods are slower. Applications often encrypt hashes and symmetric keys (for key distribution) using basic techniques (in digital signature generation).

The cryptography algorithm and the critical transform data together. The supporting algorithms are all available to the general public. As a result, the key is what regulates access to the data. To secure data, you must keep the keys safe.

One-way hash algorithms

A cryptographic hash algorithm creates a fixed-length output string from a variable-length input string (often known as a digest).

Key distribution algorithms

It might not be easy to distribute the key in a safe way when encrypted data has to be decoded at another site. Key distribution may be done in many different ways. A cryptography algorithm is sometimes used.

Random number generation algorithms

Random number generation is used in many security-related operations. Both IBM i’s Cryptographic Services and the cryptographic coprocessors’ CCA generate random numbers. Both use a pseudorandom number generator that is FIPS-certified (PRNG).

A random bit-value accumulator on the cryptographic coprocessor receives erratic input from an electrical noise generator. The hardware periodically sends seed to a pseudorandom number generator that has received FIPS 140-1 approval.

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