Asymmetric cryptography, also known as public-key cryptography, is a type of cryptography that requires the use of two different cryptographic keys for encryption and decryption. Unlike symmetric key cryptography, which relies on a single key that must be shared among the two or more communicating parties, asymmetric cryptography is based on a pair of two distinct keys – one public key, which is shared with the public and can only be used to encrypt data, and one private key, which is kept secret and can be used to decrypt data. As a result, asymmetric cryptography provides stronger security than symmetric cryptography as only the holder of the private key is able to decrypt the data.
Asymmetric cryptography is used in a variety of applications such as email encryption, electronic signatures, and web server authentication. It also finds application in digital rights management systems, where the encryption of digital content is necessary to prevent copyright infringement.
In addition to its security properties, another advantage of asymmetric cryptography is that it suffers less from key management issues as opposed to symmetric cryptography, where keys must be securely exchanged with all the involved parties. Asymmetric cryptography is also more efficient in terms of bandwidth requirements as only the public key needs to be exchanged.
Despite its advantages, asymmetric cryptography is also slower and more computationally intensive than symmetric cryptography. In addition, the security of asymmetric cryptography relies heavily on the strength of the cryptographic algorithms used and the encryption key size. Hence, it is important to use strong and reliable cryptographic algorithms and key lengths to ensure the security of data.