Encryption and Hashing: What’s the Difference?
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One of the major attributes of blockchain technology is the security it provides, and this security is hinged on encryption and hashing.
It uses encryption and hashing to ensure that unauthorized parties do not have access to information.
Before delving into their differences, we will be taking a look at what both techniques entail and what role they play.
Encryption is the process of turning relevant data (plain/readable text) by encrypting it into ciphertext using encryption key and encryption algorithm.
The cyphertext is unreadable but can be decrypted using a secret key.
Encryption algorithms, also known as ciphers, are used to encode and decode data.
Encryption algorithms are divided into two categories: symmetric; which uses only one key for both encryption and decryption of data, and asymmetric; a pair of keys used to scramble and unscramble data.
The main function of encryption is to protect data stored on or transmitted to other computers over the network and promote confidentiality.
Hashing is considered essential to blockchain management.
Hashing an encryption technique that entails converting readable text into unreadable text at a fixed length value using a hash function.
This fixed-length value can be called hash, hash value, checksum or hash code.
Hashing is used in computer systems to calculate the integrity of data during transfer over the network and to secure the data shared between two parties.
Its hashing table, which is a data structure, also helps store data with the original data as a value and the associated hash value as table index.
It transforms passwords into hash values so that PINs can stay protected in the event of security breach.
In hashing, no matter the size of the data, the data’s unique output will always be the same length.
Hashing is a one-way technique which means it is almost impossible to reverse hashed data into readable text, unlike encryption.
This means that if you hash an already hashed data again, its output will be the same. This is important in validating the authenticity of data.
Differences between Encryption and Hashing
Though similar in their ability to convert readable data into unreadable format, encryption and hashing are different in their functions.
You can see that even though they both convert data into different formats, they are slightly different in their
- The encrypted string when using encryption technique is of varying length while the hash value when using hashing technique is of fixed length.
- Encryption is a two-way process whereby data can be accessed with the right decoding key while hashing is a one-way technique that ensures that the hash value remains irreversible.
- Encryption ensures confidentiality data while hashing protects the integrity of data.
They are the two most important operations of a computer system.
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