Asymmetric encryption algorithms employ a pair of keys, one is a public key and the other one is a private key. Asymmetric encryption algorithm also called as public key cryptography simplifies the management of symmetric keys. It can be used to establish the repudiation of origin and receipt. Some of the Asymmetric Encryption Algorithms are Diffie-Hellman key algorithm, RSA algorithm, Elliptic Curve Cryptography, EI Gamal Algorithm, Digital Signature Algorithm etc.

In Asymmetric encryption method, each half of the pair can encrypt information that only the other half can decrypt. It is based on a concept of key pair [public and private keys]. In asymmetric encryption method, the key pair is designated and associated to only one partner.

How Asymmetric Encryption Algorithms Work

The process of asymmetric encryption involves two keys: one key for encryption and a second key for decryption. An asymmetric key encryption scheme involves six main parts:

  • Plaintext – this is the text message to which an algorithm is applied.
  • Encryption Algorithm – it performs mathematical operations to conduct substitutions and transformations to the plaintext.
  • Public and Private Keys – these are a pair of keys where one is used for encryption and the other for decryption.
  • Cipher Text – this is the encrypted or scrambled message produced by applying the algorithm to the plaintext message using key.
  • Decryption Algorithm – this algorithm generates the cipher text and the matching key to produce the plaintext

Advantages and Drawbacks of Asymmetric Encryption Algorithms

  • Advantages of Asymmetric Encryption Algorithms
    • Asymmetric Key algorithm ensures confidentiality.
    • Digital signatures can be done easily with the help of these algorithms.
    • The key pairs of asymmetric algorithm are associated with only one user.
    • Asymmetric encryption algorithms can be used in computer networking.
  • Drawbacks of Asymmetric Encryption Algorithms
    • Asymmetric encryption algorithms are comparatively more complex compared to symmetric encryption method.
    • Authenticity must be re-verified by out of band communication.
    • Asymmetric encryption algorithm takes longer time for encryption.