Modern networks and data exchange paths require security measures as an essential requisite. This is partly due to the advanced cyberattack methods and techniques prevalent today, and partly due to the massive amounts of data transferred across similarly massive networks.

With more inventive hacking capabilities gaining popularity, global cyber-expansion measures are becoming even more important to help secure an organization's data and systems.

Cryptography-centric data protection techniques

The most successful method of securing data is cryptographic encryption. Modern cryptographic techniques significantly contribute towards today's accelerated cybersecurity needs.

To that end, the following are four cryptographic techniques used for cybersecurity worldwide.

1. 3DES

3DES, or Triple Data Encryption Standard, is a block cipher and a modern cryptography standard. 3DES is similar to the previous encryption method of the same type, namely Data Encryption Standard, a method that uses 56-bit keys. Triple Data Encryption Standard is unique in that it uses symmetric-key encryption, three distinct 56-bit keys. This method encrypts data a full three times, essentially transforming your singular 56-bit key into a 168-bit key.

While the thrice-encrypted data is more secure while stored or during transition, the method itself is not as fast as other cryptographic techniques. In addition, since the method uses block lengths that are shorter in comparison, it is easier for experienced hackers to decrypt valuable data and exploit it.

Business institutions and financial firms most commonly use this encryption method, as they did the previous iterations. The method is also commonly used for electronic payments.

2. Twofish

Twofish is based on the earlier version of the block cipher called Blowfish. Essentially, it is also a symmetric block cipher, with a block size ranging from 128 to 256 bits. The method works best for smaller CPUs, as well as low-level hardware. Just like the AES system, it integrates rounds of encryption to transform plain text into cipher text. Unlike AES, the rounds of encryption do not vary. Regardless of the size of the keys, the encryption rounds always number sixteen.

This cryptographic technique is more flexible due to the option of selecting your key setup and encryption process rate. You can set the key setup to run quickly and the encryption process to run slower, and vice versa. Twofish encryption can also be used as often as desired, since it does not require a license and has no restrictions.

3. AES

AES, or Advanced Encryption Standard, is one of the most secure encryption methods. The symmetric encryption algorithm makes use of a block cipher, which fixes data points one at a time with fixed size blocks. Unlike other encryption forms, AES does not encrypt data in small batches. Stream ciphers represent one example of Advanced Encryption Standard.

AES consists of AES-256, AES-192 and AES-128 key bits. The key bit that you choose for your encryption task encrypts blocks in 128 to 256 bits. There are 10 rounds for 128-bit, 12 rounds for 192-bit and 14 rounds for 256-bit. Because AES uses symmetric key encryption, the key needs to be shared with other parties to allow them access to encrypted data.

Overall, Advanced Encryption Standard is secure and cannot be easily broken. The U.S. government makes use of AES for the protection of sensitive information and classified data. Several hardware and software products come with this cryptographic method as standard.  

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4. RSA

Named after the three researchers who first described it (Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir and Len Adelman), the RSA algorithm utilizes public-key cryptography to transmit data through an unsafe network. It is an asymmetric cryptography algorithm, meaning that it functions on two distinct keys — the private key and the public key. The former key should always be kept confidential, while the latter is public, as the name suggests. While using this form of cryptography, you require both keys to gain access to encrypted data. One of the keys can be used to encrypt the data; the other is used to decrypt it.

RSA is comparatively secure, since it factors integers that are derived from a pair of large prime numbers. The key size is also bigger, which enhances the security of the algorithm. The majority of RSA keys are in the 1024 to 2048-bit range. Despite the longer key size, the encryption method is no slower than other techniques.

Tried and tested cryptographic methods for consistent data security

Although there are many cryptographic methods in use, for a wide range of information security applications, using the most tested and trusted techniques and algorithms is better for consistent, seamless data security. While there are no foolproof encryption methods in existence, securing your data through one of the aforementioned techniques pays dividends in the long run.

For potential data security professionals, advanced cybersecurity training can be very advantageous due to the diverse and well-populated training options available today. You'll also benefit from the lucrative nature of the positions requiring certifications. Since data and cybersecurity are each part of the requisite skillset of IT professionals, cybersecurity training is often necessary to prepare you for these six-figure careers.

If you're ready to grow familiar with key cryptographic techniques and accelerate your understanding of cybersecurity best practices, we're ready to help. Talk to our experts for more insight into how you can start or advance your cybersecurity career today.