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Asymmetric or symmetric security key - Case Study Example

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The basic purpose of discussing these techniques is to choose one of them for XYZ Inc. Though, both the techniques offer certain advantages and disadvantages but asymmetric technique should be used by XYZ Inc…
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Asymmetric or symmetric security key
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ASYMMETRIC OR SYMMETRIC KEY ENCRYPTION Asymmetric or Symmetric Key Encryption Affiliation Introduction This paper presents an overview of two encryption techniques. The basic purpose of discussing these techniques is to choose one of them for XYZ Inc. Though, both the techniques offer certain advantages and disadvantages but asymmetric technique should be used by XYZ Inc. Asymmetric encryption is more secure than symmetric for the reason that it uses two keys to encrypt and decrypt messages.
Symmetric Key Encryption
Symmetric key encryption is also known as a shared key or shared secret encryption. Basically, in symmetric key encryption, both data sender and receiver make use of the same key to both encrypt and decrypt data. In this scenario, both the sender and receiver decide for the shared key before sending/receiving the data and then they can start encrypting and decrypting data between them by making use of that key. Some of the well known examples of symmetric key encryption comprise TripleDES (Data Encryption Standard) and AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) (Stretch, 2010; Ezeobika, 2010). Fig1 demonstrates the process of Symmetric key encryption:
Figure 1Process of Symmetric Encryption, Image Source: (Stretch, 2010)
In addition, DES, 3DES, AES, and RC4 are some of the well known examples of symmetric encryption algorithm. In this scenario, 3DES and AES are widely utilized in IPsec and other types of VPNs (Stretch, 2010; KetuWare, 2004).
Asymmetric Key Encryption
Asymmetric encryption is also referred as public-key cryptography. As compared to the symmetric encryption method in asymmetric encryption two keys are used: one for encryption and another for decryption. Basically, this encryption technique uses two keys for the data encryption: a public key and a private key. In this scenario, the public key is made available for all so it can be used to encrypt data and information by anyone who wants to send a message to the person who has the key. However, the private key is not disclosed to anyone and is employed to decrypt received data. Most commonly seen example of asymmetric key encryption is RSA (Stretch, 2010; Ezeobika, 2010). Fig2 demonstrates the process of Symmetric key encryption:
Figure 2Process of Asymmetric Encryption, Image Source: (Stretch, 2010)
Advantages of Asymmetric Encryption
Some of the advantages of asymmetric encryption are outlined below: (Ezeobika, 2010)
Handiness: Asymmetric encryption technique effectively addresses the issue of sending the key for encryption. In fact, the users publishing their public keys and private keys are kept secret.
Excellent Support for Message Authentication: In view of the fact that the asymmetric encryption technique supports the digital signatures which allows the data receiver/sender to authenticate that the data is actually received from a specific sender.
Integrity of data: As discussed above, the use of digital signatures also ensures the integrity of data. In addition, this technique allows the receiver to become aware of if the data was modified during transmission because a digitally signed data cannot be altered without invalidating the signature.
Support non-repudiation: Digitally acknowledged data is similar to physically signed document. In fact, it is a receipt of the data and as a result, the sender cannot refuse it.
Public keys authentication: In asymmetric key encryption no user can be completely certain that a public key belongs to the person it signifies and if so everyone must confirm that their public keys belong to them.
Not Efficient: As it uses two keys so it is much slower that symmetric encryption.
Additional computer resources: Asymmetric key encryption requires a lot more computer resources as compared to symmetric key encryption.
Loss of the private key can be irreparable: If a private key lost all received data cannot be decrypted.
XYX Inc. should use asymmetric encryption key to encrypt the information of genetic. This encryption technique provides higher security as it makes use of two keys: one for encryption and another for decryption. However, this technique requires more resources than the symmetric key encryption.

Ezeobika, C. (2010, July 02). Comparing Symmetric and Asymmetric Key Encryption Systems. Retrieved May 20, 2012, from
KetuWare. (2004). Symmetric vs. Asymmetric Encryption. Retrieved May 22, 2012, from
Stretch, J. (2010, November 23). Symmetric Encryption, Asymmetric Encryption, and Hashing. Retrieved May 19, 2012, from Read More
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