What is Symmetric Encryption?

Symmetric encryption is a cryptographic method where the same key is used for both encryption and decryption. In this process, the plaintext data is transformed into ciphertext using a shared secret key. Only individuals or systems with access to the same key can decrypt the ciphertext back into its original plaintext form.

Symmetric encryption is generally faster and more efficient than asymmetric encryption, making it suitable for encrypting large amounts of data. However, it requires secure key exchange and management, as the same key is used for both encryption and decryption. If the key is compromised, the encrypted data is vulnerable to unauthorized access.

Popular symmetric encryption algorithms include the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), Data Encryption Standard (DES), and Triple DES (3DES). These algorithms are widely used in various applications, such as secure file transfer, data storage, and virtual private networks (VPNs).