What is Public Key? Public Key represents any number of digital signatures that have been created with the help of public keys. A Public Key is a number that can be used to encrypt electronic data. Private keys do not carry any information and are just for use for specific purposes. Public Key is required to login into some secure systems such as banking and online accounts.
Public Key cryptography, is a highly secure form of electronic cryptography where two keys are generated: public keys, which are kept by the public and are hidden from the other party, and private keys, which are kept by the owner only. The generation of these key pairs lies on highly complicated mathematical algorithms that are based on certain mathematical facts termed as key-dependent encryption. Once the two keys are created, only the authorized one can decrypt the secret messages. A public key is usually short, while a private key is long.
The main strength of this system lies in its simple fact that once a secret key is made available to the public, then anybody who knows the algorithm can easily break the code. Hence, the only way to make a secret key known to the public is to publish it in some approved manner. But in reality, there are some methods that are quite risky when it comes to publishing this key. For instance, if a person publishes a secret key that is copied on official paper, then he might get into troubles with the law. This is why it is not recommended to publish these keys online.
Many programs are available on the Internet nowadays that help a user to create an encrypted file. These programs are called Open Source Software. These software is usually free of cost and are widely used by the ordinary user as well as the professionals. The advantage of using an open source application is that an encrypted file can be opened by anybody irrespective of the computer on which it is being opened. In case of a public key, on the other hand, a person needs to give his computer password before he can open his file.
Any public key authentication algorithm can be made use of for symmetric and asymmetric cryptography. A symmetric encryption algorithm makes use of the same secret key for both symmetrical and asymmetrical encryption/decryption. Asymmetric key authentication is based on the fact that an attacker cannot easily guess the encryption key. A practical example of such an algorithm is the X-SQL database.
A majority of commercial software applications make use of the X-SQL database. When you create a secure connection, you can set the parameters of your application to use the symmetric algorithm for key encryption and decryption. If you want to send an email message to someone and he is not subscribed to the RSS feeds, you can encrypt the message with his non-secret key. Similarly, if you want to send an encrypted message to another person, just generate a random key and encrypt it with his secret key.
On the other hand, asymmetric cryptography is used for the purpose of authentication. Authenticated keys are generated by applying certain mathematical rules over a wide range of inputs to derive a unique key. In other words, this method of key encryption/decryption does not take into account the sender’s or receiver’s knowledge of the algorithm. This is a very secure method of authentication, as the generated secret keys cannot be guessed. However, authenticators are also a possibility with this form of encryption.
In order to achieve authentication, an application must generate and store two keys. The first key is used by the application to unlock the secret mailbox of the application server and this key can be referred to as the server’s key. The second key is called the client’s key and is generated during the setup process of the network. Both these keys must be kept secret and cannot be shared with anybody.