Difference Between Encryption and Hashing

Difference Between Encryption and Hashing

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Anshuman
Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content
Updated on Jan 17, 2023 18:10 IST

Encryption and Hashing allow you to protect sensitive information, but they are used for different purposes and employ different techniques. Are you aware of the difference between encryption and hashing? If not, then don’t worry. This article will discuss the difference between encryption and hashing in detail.

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The main difference between encryption and hashing is that encryption is used to secure data, whereas hashing is used to check the integrity of data.

You can also explore: What are Different Types of Cryptography?

Before diving deeper into the difference between encryption and hashing, let’s quickly go over the topics listed under the table of contents (TOC) that we will cover in this article.

Table of Contents (TOC)

Difference Between Encryption and Hashing

For a better understanding, let’s explore the difference between encryption and hashing in a tabular format. Here’s the table:

Benchmark Encryption Hashing
Definition It is a process of converting plaintext into ciphertext (coded text). It is a process of converting plaintext into keys using hash functions.
Purpose Its main purpose is to secure the data by coverting it in an unreadble format. Its main purpose is to check the integrity of data.
Secure Less secure in comparison to hashing. More secure in comparison to encryption.
Reversible or irreversible? Reversible Irreversible
Length of converted information Variable length (Grows with the increase in the length of the information that will be converted). Fixed length. (The length of text that will be converted does not affect the length of convered information.)
Process type Two-way process (plain text can be encrypted and decrypted as well) One-way process (once encrypted it cannot be decrypted).
Examples Blowfish, RSA, Asymmetric, Symmetric, etc. MD5, SHA-1, SHA-2, SHA256, etc.

What is Encryption? 

Encryption Definition: Encryption is a process of converting plaintext (readable text) into ciphertext (unreadable form).

Encryption is a two-way process. This means that it is possible to decrypt the ciphertext back into its original form using the appropriate key. Encryption allows you to secure confidential information; hence even if the information falls into the hands of hackers, they can’t use it for malicious activities.

Once the information is encrypted, it is of no use to anyone if the person does not have the appropriate key in order to decrypt it. Hence, even if unauthorized users access the information, it will be in an unreadable format and thus of no use. Two main types of encryption are Symmetric Encryption and Asymmetric Encryption.

You can also explore: What Is Public Key Cryptography?

Importance of Encryption 

Encryption is very important as it helps in enhancing:

  • Confidentiality: Once the data or information is encrypted, it cannot be accessed or changed by unauthorized users, thus increasing the confidentiality of the data.
  • Authentication: Even after the data or information is encrypted, the data can be traced back; hence it can be verified whether the data came from a trusted source.
  • Privacy: Encryption helps maintain the privacy of communications; hence, only the intended recipients can read the message, and it remains private even if an unauthorized party intercepts it.

You can also explore: Encryption Online Courses & Certifications

What is Hashing? 

Hashing Definition: Hashing is the process of converting data to a shorter fixed value known as the key (hash key), which is then used to represent the original data.

Hashing is a one-way process. This means once the data or the information has been converted into a key, it cannot be converted back to its original form. Hashing is mainly done to check the integrity of the data. The hash keys are stored in the database and compared to check whether the original data matches the current data or not.

One of the other significant use of hashing is that it is used to compare large amounts of data. This is because hash values are much easier to compare than large chunks of data, as they are more concise. 

You can also explore: Introduction to Hash Table

Importance of Hashing

Hashing is very important as it provides the following:

  • Fast access: Hashes allows you to access the data or information quickly. This is so because they are more concise than large data chunks.
  • Data integrity: Hash values ensure data integrity by checking that the hash value of the received data matches the hash value received from the original data.
  • Security: Hashes allow you to securely store passwords by storing the hash rather than the plain text password.

You can also explore: Hashing Online Courses & Certifications

Key Differences Between Encryption and Hashing 

Here are the key differences between encryption and hashing:

  • Encryption is a reversible process, but hashing is not.
  • Hashing is way more secure in comparison to encryption.
  • The main purpose of hashing is to check the integrity of data. Whereas the main purpose of encryption is to secure the data by converting it to an unreadable format.
  • In hashing, the length of the converted text remains fixed. Whereas, in encryption, the length of converted text changes depending on the data length that will be converted.
  • Encryption is a process of converting plaintext into ciphertext (coded or unreadable text). In contrast, hashing is a process of converting plaintext into keys using hash functions.

You can also explore: What are the Different Types of Network Topology?

Conclusion 

This article discusses the difference between encryption and hashing in detail, along with their importance. If you have any queries related to the topic (difference between encryption and hashing), please feel free to send your query to us as a comment. We will be happy to help.

Happy Learning!!

About the Author
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Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content

Anshuman Singh is an accomplished content writer with over three years of experience specializing in cybersecurity, cloud computing, networking, and software testing. Known for his clear, concise, and informative wr... Read Full Bio