What is asymmetric encryption?

What is Asymmetric Encryption?

Asymmetric Encryption is also known as public-key cryptography, which uses two separate keys for encryption and decryption. Anyone can use the public key to encrypt a message. However, decryption keys are the private keys and are kept secret. This way only the intended recepient can decrypt the message.

The most common asymmetric encryption algorithm is RSA. RSA stands for Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Leonard Adleman— the men who first publicly used the algorithm in 1977.

Asymmetric keys are typically 1024 or 2048 bits. However, keys smaller than 2048 bits are no longer considered safe to use. 2048-bit keys have plenty of unique encryption codes with 617 digits in use. Though larger keys can be created, the increased computational burden is so significant that keys larger than 2048 bits are rarely used. To put it into perspective, it would take an average computer more than 14 billion years to crack a 2048-bit certificate.