Encryption Fundamentals


Cryptography provides confidentiality through encryption, which is the process of disguising a message to hide its original content.

With encryption, plain text (the readable message) is converted into ciphertext (the unreadable, disguised message); decryption at the destination reverses this process. Figure 10-18 illustrates this process.

Figure 10-18 Encryption Protects Data Confidentiality

Math is fun!

Math is fun!

M Encrypt (Lock)


Secret Key

Data Confidentiality

Decrypt (Unlock)


The purpose of encryption is to guarantee confidentiality; only authorized entities can encrypt and decrypt data. With most modern algorithms, successful encryption and decryption require knowledge of the appropriate cryptographic keys. A sample use of data encryption is when the IPsec encryption algorithm is used to hide the payload of IP packets.

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