The development of technology has brought about the use of modern techniques to secure information. One such is cryptography, defined as the science concerned with the methods of protecting data (Schmeh, 2003). However, for cryptographic systems to be effective in protecting information, there must be a process to maintain integrity, authentication, and confidentiality.
This is enabled through the use of protocols and algorithms such as asymmetric and symmetric algorithms. The main function of cryptography in communication is to maintain confidentiality, integrity and to authenticate communicating devices. For this process to function, the contents involved in the process need to be encrypted. This is whereby the original plain text that is sent over a network is converted into a ciphertext (Vacca, 2010), which hides the contents. Cryptography applies the mechanisms of encryption to scramble the contents into a non-understandable form unless it undergoes a process called decryption.
This process maintains confidentiality unless authentic devices decrypt the information. The method uses a hash function to guarantee that only authorized entities can read the information. Cryptography also ensures that the process is authenticated. In this, information remains private. It enforces privacy since the messages cannot be forged in any way, and only authentic devices can read the information.
On the other hand, cryptography ensures integrity, data integrity in the sense that it ensures that data on transit remains unaltered and assent. This ensures that the intended receiver can verify the information as sent by the sending device.
The components of cryptography that play this role include authentication, integrity, and confidentiality. These components ensure that the process is safe, hence the main function of cryptography.
Schmeh, K. (2003). Cryptography and public key infrastructure on the Internet. Chichester, West Sussex, England: Wiley.
Vacca, J. R. (2010). Network and system security. Burlington, MA: Syngress/Elsevier