Public Key Crypto Systems

By: Jesse Miller

Public-key algorithms rely on one key for encryption and a different but related key for decryption. It is computationally infeasible to determine the decryption key given only knowledge of the cryptographic algorithm and the encryption key.

Algorithms such as RSA exhibit the following characteristics either they can be used for encryption or decryption. A public encryption scheme has plain text, encryption algorithm, public and private key, cipher text, and decryption algorithm.

Each user generates a pair of keys to be used for the encryption and decryption of messages. Each user places one of the two keys in a public register or other accessible file. This is the public key. The companion key is kept private. Each user maintains a collection of public keys obtained from others.

The information sent by two users passes through public key and accessing can be done by persons those who are having their private key with them. Information gets decrypted and can be viewed by the person who types the private key. All the participants have access the public key and private keys are generated locally by each participant and therefore need to be distribution should be avoided.

As long as a system controls its private key, its incoming communications are secure. At any time, a system can change its private key and publish the companion public key to replace its old key.
Plaintext is the readable message or data that is fed into the algorithm as input. The encryption algorithm performs various transformations on the plaintext.

This is a pair of keys that have been selected so that if one is used for encryption, the other is used for decryption. The exact transformations performed by the encryption algorithm depend on the public or private key hat is provided as input. Cipher text is the scrambled message produced as output.

It depends on the plaintext and the key. For a given message, two different keys will produce two different cipher texts. Decryption algorithm accepts the cipher text and the matching key to produce the original plain text.

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The entire message is encrypted which although validating both author and contents, require great deal of storage. Each document must be kept in plain text to be used for practical purposes. A copy also must be stored in cipher text (Scrambled message as an output) so that the origin and contents can be verified in case of a dispute.

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