Common Asymmetric Key Algorithms

Posted on December 3, 2010. Filed under: CompTIA Security+ |


The distinguishing technique used in public key cryptography is the use of asymmetric key algorithms, where the key used to encrypt a message is not the same as the key used to decrypt it. Each user has a pair of cryptographic keys—a public encryption key and a private decryption key. The publicly available encrypting-key is widely distributed, while the private decrypting-key is known only to the recipient. Messages are encrypted with the recipient’s public key and can only be decrypted with the corresponding private key.

Because symmetric key algorithms are nearly always much less computationally intensive, it is common to exchange a key using a key-exchange algorithm and transmit data using that key and a symmetric key algorithm.

Popular asymmetric encryption algorithms are RSA, Diffie-Hellman, ElGamal, and ECC.

  • RSA
  • Diffie-Hellman
  • ElGamal
  • ECC
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