Encryption and Decryption: Concept and Key Differences

Encryption and Decryption: Concept and Key Differences

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Updated on Jun 8, 2023 17:50 IST

Encryption is the process of transforming an ordinary message (plaintext) into a meaningless message (ciphertext). Decryption is the process of transforming a meaningless message (ciphertext) into its original form (plaintext). Let’s unfold the difference between Encryption and Decryption.You will see the key differences with real life examples.


When you hear the words “encryption” and “decryption,” what comes to mind? If you’re like most people, you might think of digital security measures that protect your online information. But what do these terms mean? And more importantly, what’s the difference between them?

This article will explore encryption and decryption and explain will see the key differences between these two processes. We’ll also look at real-world examples of encryption and decryption in action. So if you’re curious about this essential part of digital security, read on!

Table of contents

Difference between Encryption and Decryption

Parameter Encryption Decryption
Definition The process of converting plaintext into ciphertext using an algorithm and a key. The process of converting ciphertext back into plaintext using a decryption algorithm and a key.
Purpose To protect data confidentiality and prevent unauthorized access. To revert encrypted data back to its original form for authorized access and understanding.
Input Plaintext (original data) and encryption key. Ciphertext (encrypted data) and decryption key.
Output Ciphertext (encrypted data). Plaintext (original data).
Key A key is used during encryption to transform plaintext into ciphertext. It is known only to the sender and authorized recipients. A key is used during decryption to reverse the encryption process and retrieve the original plaintext. It should match the encryption key used.
Security Encryption provides data confidentiality by making the encrypted data unreadable without the proper decryption key. Decryption allows authorized users to access and understand the encrypted data by using the correct decryption key.
Communication Encryption is typically used during data transmission to secure sensitive information from interception and unauthorized access. Decryption is used at the receiving end to recover the original data and make it usable.
Examples HTTPS communication, encrypting files, secure messaging apps, etc. Decrypting received emails, accessing encrypted databases, decrypting encrypted files, etc.

What is Encryption?

It’s the process of transforming readable data into an unreadable format. It uses mathematical algorithms to achieve this and can be performed on any kind of data, including emails, documents, and messages.

Encryption is often used in the digital world, where it’s applied to files, emails, and even entire hard drives. It’s also used in securing wireless networks and is the backbone of many online banking systems. Without encryption, our data would be vulnerable to anyone who wants to see it.

Another thing to consider is that encryption keys are generated by two different algorithms — symmetrical and asymmetrical. Symmetrical algorithm allows for a shared key between users on both ends, while asymmetrical algorithm requires two keys (one public and one private) for each user. This means that even if someone obtains your public key, they still need your private key to decrypt your data — adding an extra layer of security.

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Applications of Encryption and Decryption

  • Timestamps use a cryptographic model called a blind signature scheme. A blind signature scheme allows a sender to receive a message from another party without revealing information about the message to the other party. A digital signature is a cryptographic means many of these can be verified. A digital signature for a document is information based on both the document and the signer’s private key. 
  • Email encryption is a method of protecting email content from outside an email conversation that wants to obtain participant information. 
  • WhatsApp uses the “signals” protocol for encryption. It uses a combination of asymmetric and symmetric key encryption algorithms. 
  • Electronic money includes transactions made electronically involving the net transfer of funds from one party to another. It can be either a debit or a credit, anonymous or identified.

What is Decryption?

Decryption is the process of transforming encrypted data into its original form so that humans can read it. This is done by reversing the encryption process, using the same algorithm, key, or password.

There are many different applications for decryption, including recovering lost or forgotten passwords, accessing encrypted data for analysis, and restoring files that have been damaged or corrupted. In some cases, decryption may also be used to remove security measures from files or systems so that they can be used without restriction.

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Real-life Examples of Encryption and Decryption

  1. Information transfer: Encryption techniques are used to protect the data that is transmitted between a website’s server and a user’s web browser. This ensures that any sensitive information, such as login credentials, credit card information or personal details cannot be seen by anyone else but the intended recipient.
  2. File and disk encryption: It can also be used to protect files on your computer or hard drive from unauthorized access. Software like BitLocker (for Windows) or FileVault (for Mac) encrypts files using a key which must then be decrypted with the correct password in order for it to become readable again.
  3. Messaging apps: Many messaging apps use end-to-end encryption so messages sent between users remain secure until they reach their destination device where they can only then be read by its intended recipient with the right key/password combination provided in advance by both parties involved in sending/receiving said message(s).
  4. VPN Services: VPN services provide an added layer of security when browsing online as all traffic passing through them is encrypted before being passed onto websites visited ensuring no one has visibility into what you’re doing online – making it much harder for hackers who might want access into your devices without permission! Overall these multiple layers of protection ensure maximum privacy & security while surfing on public networks like Wi-Fi hotspots at airports etc., allowing us peace of mind knowing our data remains safe & sound even if we’re not directly connected via ethernet cable!

Why Encryption and Decryption are Important

Encryption and decryption are important because they keep your data safe. When you encrypt your data, it means that only the people you want to be able to see it will be able to. It’s like locking your data away in a safe where only you have the key.

Decryption is the process of unlocking your data so that it can be read. It’s like opening up the safe and taking out your data so that you can use it. Your data will be safe from prying eyes as long as encrypted.

Keypoint Differences between Encryption and Decryption

  • Encryption is the process of transforming normal data into an unreadable form and decryption is the process of transforming unreadable/encoded data back into its original form.
  • Encryption is done by the person sending the data to the destination, while decryption is done by the person receiving the data.
  • Encryption is ‘scrambling’ data, making it unreadable to those without a special ‘key’ to unlock it. On the other hand, decryption is simply reversing the encryption process and making the data readable again.
  • Whenever data is sent between two separate machines, it is automatically encrypted with a private key. In decryption the recipient of the data automatically allows the conversion of the data from code to its original form.
  • Examples of encryption are: An employee sends an encrypted document to his boss. An example decryption is: Boss decryptes the document sent by employer.


When it comes to encryption and decryption, it’s important to understand the difference between the two. Encryption is the process of transforming readable data into an unreadable format, while decryption is the process of transforming unreadable data into readable format.

Encryption is used to protect data from unauthorized access, while decryption is used to restore data to its original format. encryption and decryption are essential for ensuring the security of data.

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What are the outputs of encryption and decryption?

Encryption produces ciphertext (encrypted data) as output. Decryption produces plaintext (original data) as output.

What is the purpose of decryption?

The purpose of decryption is to restore encrypted data back to its original form for authorized access and understanding. It allows authorized users to retrieve and work with the original plaintext.

What are some examples of encryption and decryption in real-world applications?

Examples include secure web communication (HTTPS), file and disk encryption, messaging apps with end-to-end encryption, virtual private networks (VPNs), secure email services, and database encryption.

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