Symmetric vs Asymmetric Encryption Algorithms

This topic explains the difference between and the functionality of symmetric and asymmetric encryption algorithms.

Symmetric Asymmetric Encryption

The figure shows the differences between symmetric and asymmetric encryption. In symmetric encryption, the sender and the receiver are using the same secret key to encrypt and decrypt the message. The weakness in symmetric encryption is the secret key. Any user can obtain the secret key to crack the code. In asymmetric encryption, one key is used for encryption and another key is used for decryption. In this case, you must obtain both keys to crack the code.

6-16 Securing Cisco Network Devices (SND) v2.0 © 2006 Cisco Systems, Inc.

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