The current year has proven cybersecurity to be incredibly important. Two hot-button topics of modern security include those in the title: hashing vs. encryption. Most common audiences know nothing bout them, but what is the difference?
This article will define both their common uses and different algorithms that apply.
Encryption is the process of encoding data using a cipher. How the data scrambles depends on the protocol, but the idea is that encryption can be decoded using the same cipher.
The central premise of encrypted data is to transfer between two sources. The order of steps is usually the following:
The protocol uses a set of rules (known as an algorithm) to determine how text scrambles. In modern terms, the most popular form of encryption protocol is TLS/SSL. Transport Layer Security and Secure Socket Layer secure and encrypt your connection to most current web pages. You have a secure connection if you see the HTTPS next to any page.
Encryption also comes in two forms:
Remember that what makes encryption unique is that it works with communication. Encrypted files/data are done so with the understanding that someone will decrypt them. Hashing is different in this way.
Encryption protocols ensure that communications between two areas are secure. Here are some examples:
Hashing is another method of transforming data into a new form using a hashing algorithm. Those who hash communicate one way, as the energy necessary to decrypt hashes would be infeasible.
Overall, hashing algorithms are far better at maintaining your data. In this way, hash values confirm that there is no data alteration.
Like encryption, hashing will transform your value into a random combination of characters known as a hash value. This enables the website to confirm you are entering your password correctly without checking it against your password. Instead, it follows these steps:
Newer forms of hash algorithms prevent hash collisions. These collisions happen when keys use the same hash values, likely coming from weak generation capabilities. Many older hashing protocols are phased out for this reason.
With password hashing, you’ll also likely hear about salting.
Salting is the act of adding a unique value to the end of a password. This value is what creates the unique hash value, adding additional security in the event of a brute force attack (where automated systems repeatedly guess at a password).
Your “salt” is typically some random word or phrase added to the end of each character combination. This combo ensures that hackers will struggle to guess where the salt ends, and the hashed password begins when the random word is at the end.
Cybersecurity experts know that you probably shouldn’t eat hash without salt. So, if you like your breakfast, there’s a way to remember what salt is.
You often see hashing s a way to maintain file integrity. here are some examples of this in action:
Despite the two performing incredibly similar activities, there are significant differences between them. Below is a list of differences between hashing and encryption:
Below are some examples of the most popular types of encryption algorithms:
Hashing algorithms also include a wide range of options:
Hashing requires an insane amount of computing power to crack. So you might wonder why VPNs use the word “encryption” over “hashing.” The reality about this comes back to how each algorithm is used.
Encryption is meant for decryption because it is a method of temporary security. For example, the other party cannot read your message if you encrypt it (unless you have a shared encryption/decryption platform). Because of how encryption is built, it is better suited for communication-based platforms.
This is how the battle of encryption vs hashing plays out.
Meanwhile, having is better if you e trying to maintain the security of your data. For example, you don’t want your password to be compromised. However, you would like to easily be able to get into a system you commonly use. By comparing hash values instead of passwords, you can do this quick comparison and system access without needing to expose credentials with each login.
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