Cryptography Types: The 3 Encryption Systems to Know (2023)

By Tibor Moes / Updated: June 2023

Cryptography Types: The 3 Encryption Systems to Know (2023)<br />

Cryptography Types

Imagine being an artist, painting a breathtaking masterpiece that only a select few with a special pair of glasses can appreciate in its true colors. This is much like the world of cryptography – transforming information into a form only comprehensible to those with the right tools.


Cryptography is the science of encrypting and decrypting information, transforming readable data (plaintext) into unreadable format (ciphertext) and back, to ensure secure communication.

Type 1 – Quantum Cryptography: Imagine a world where your communications are so secure, any eavesdropper would immediately be detected because of the fundamental laws of physics. That’s quantum cryptography – utilizing principles of quantum mechanics to secure data. If anyone tries to intercept, the communication itself changes, flagging potential threats.

Type 2 – Homomorphic Encryption: It’s like doing math on a locked box without ever opening it. Homomorphic encryption allows computations to be performed on encrypted data without decrypting it first. The results, when decrypted, match as if operations were done on the original, unencrypted data. This provides extreme data privacy even in use.

Type 3 – Post-Quantum Cryptography: In a game of eternal cat and mouse, post-quantum cryptography is the next big leap. It’s designed to secure data against future quantum computers, which could crack many of today’s cryptographic algorithms. It’s like building a castle knowing giants might attack one day – future-proofing our digital world.

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Cyber Security Types In-depth

Quantum Cryptography: The Unbreakable Code

Remember when we painted that picture of sending a note to a friend in class, but you didn’t want anyone else to read it? Well, now imagine you’ve built a robot to carry the note. But this isn’t just any robot. This robot has a magical ability. If anyone but your friend tries to intercept the note, the robot immediately changes the message. That’s the magic of quantum cryptography. It’s not about hiding the message; it’s about making sure it changes if someone other than the intended recipient tries to read it.

Now, let’s break this down.

Quantum cryptography is based on the science of quantum mechanics. Don’t let the name scare you, though. Quantum mechanics, in simple terms, is the study of particles at the very smallest level, where normal rules of physics seem a little… strange. We are talking about particles like photons, which are teeny-tiny particles of light.

In the world of quantum mechanics, a particle like a photon can exist in multiple states at once, a phenomenon known as ‘superposition.’ Think of it as being both awake and asleep at the same time – sounds odd, right? But that’s the quantum world for you. This property lets us use these particles to create an encryption key in a very unique and secure way.

Another fantastic trick of quantum particles is ‘entanglement.’ This is when two particles are linked in such a way that the state of one immediately affects the state of the other, no matter the distance between them. Imagine twins feeling each other’s joy or pain, even if they are at opposite ends of the world. That’s quantum entanglement, another trick in quantum cryptography’s arsenal.

So, how does this apply to cryptography? When we use quantum particles to transmit our encryption key (that special glasses we talked about earlier), any attempt to observe or measure these particles (an eavesdropper trying to read our note) instantly changes their state. This is thanks to Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, another gem from the quantum world. As a result, both the sender and the receiver immediately know there’s been an attempt to peek at their secret key.

What does this mean for your secret message? It means that with quantum cryptography, your secret stays a secret. Any sneaky snoops trying to intercept your note won’t see your original message – instead, they inadvertently trigger a change, and the secret is kept safe. And, in the world of digital communication, this level of security is invaluable.

So, next time you think about passing notes in class, picture the quantum robot carrying your message, ever vigilant and ready to keep your secrets safe. Welcome to the fascinating world of quantum cryptography – where security is not just about keeping things locked, but ensuring no one, except your friend, can read the note.

Homomorphic Encryption: The Magic Box

Think back to those magical moments when you watched a magician pull a rabbit out of an empty hat. Just as you couldn’t understand how that bunny appeared out of nowhere, homomorphic encryption performs a similar kind of magic trick on your data.

Let’s imagine you have a box, and you put a couple of apples inside it, then lock it. Without opening the box, your friend adds a few oranges. Now, how many pieces of fruit are inside? Normally, we’d have to unlock the box to count. But what if I told you there’s a way we could know the total number of fruits without ever opening the box? That’s the marvel of homomorphic encryption.

It’s a clever and super helpful type of encryption that allows us to perform calculations or operations on encrypted data, without decrypting it. This means that we can work on the data, even add, subtract, multiply, or divide, without ever actually seeing the original data. When we finally unlock (decrypt) our box, we find the correct result, as if we had been doing the math on the actual apples and oranges.

In the digital world, this is like working on a locked computer file, changing it in useful ways, but all while it’s still locked. Only those with the key can unlock it and see what the changes really mean. This trick lets us do a lot of useful things while still keeping data super safe.

Consider cloud computing, where we often want to store and process our data on servers somewhere out there in the ‘cloud.’ But we also want to keep our data private. Homomorphic encryption is like sending a locked box to the cloud. The cloud can still do useful work on the box, like adding more things or rearranging them, but it can’t see inside the box. When the box comes back, you use your key, open it up, and see the results.

But how does it work? Well, the real technical details involve a lot of advanced math, with things like complex numbers and high-order polynomials. But in simple terms, the encryption process involves transforming data into a new format that preserves the relationships between different data points, such as their sum or product. It’s like the data is wearing a disguise, but the relationships between the disguised elements are still valid.

In the grand game of cryptography, homomorphic encryption is like a master of disguise. It transforms data so you can’t recognize it, but lets you work on it all the same. So, if anyone ever tells you, “you can’t have your cake and eat it too,” introduce them to homomorphic encryption, the magical box where the impossible becomes possible.

Post-Quantum Cryptography: The Time Machine

If you’ve ever seen a time travel movie, you’re familiar with the concept of preparing for a future event based on information you get from the future. Post-quantum cryptography is a bit like that, only minus the DeLorean and the flux capacitor. It’s about preparing for a future where quantum computers, which haven’t yet become practical, could potentially break our current encryption systems.

Picture this: You’re building a castle in the age of knights and horses, but you know that someday, there will be tanks and airplanes. So you design your defenses not just for today’s threats, but for the threats of tomorrow as well. That’s the idea behind post-quantum cryptography. It’s not that we have quantum computers threatening our digital kingdom right now, but if or when we do, we want to be ready.

Today, much of our digital security relies on the fact that certain math problems are hard to solve. For instance, it’s hard to factorize a large number that’s the product of two prime numbers. But with quantum computers, these problems could become easy to solve, and that could crack open our digital safes.

So what can we do? The answer lies in post-quantum cryptography, which involves developing new cryptographic systems that can stand up to both classical and quantum attacks. It’s like building a castle that can withstand both a cavalry charge and a tank assault.

There are several approaches to post-quantum cryptography, including but not limited to lattice-based, code-based, and multivariate-based cryptography. All of these use different mathematical structures and problems that are believed to be resistant to quantum attacks. It’s like having different designs for our castle walls, each based on a different defensive principle.

The point of post-quantum cryptography isn’t to replace our current cryptographic systems entirely, at least not yet. Instead, it’s about being prepared. Just as our hypothetical castle builder can’t know exactly when tanks will come or what they’ll look like, we don’t know exactly when practical quantum computers will arrive or what they’ll be capable of. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be ready.

It’s an ongoing field, with researchers around the globe designing, testing, and challenging various post-quantum cryptographic systems. These are the forward-thinking architects of our digital defenses, always looking to the horizon and preparing for the threats we might face tomorrow.

So, the next time you think of time travel, think about post-quantum cryptography – a leap into the future of security. It’s our way of future-proofing our digital world, ensuring our secrets stay secret, no matter what comes our way. Welcome to the advanced world of post-quantum cryptography – where we’re building the fortresses of the future today.


Cryptography, a digital magician, performs its tricks right before our eyes, yet we often fail to notice. It transforms messages, keeps secrets hidden in plain sight, and, most importantly, ensures our digital world remains secure. From the magic of quantum cryptography, the wonder of homomorphic encryption, to the time-bending prowess of post-quantum cryptography, these are all tools in our digital defense kit. Just as a good magician never reveals their secrets, good cryptography ensures ours stay hidden, too. As we venture deeper into the digital age, one thing remains clear – the art of cryptography, in its many forms, will continue to guide and guard us. Its job? To make sure that when a message is sent, only the right ‘eyes’ read it. And that’s a kind of magic we could all do with.

How to stay safe online:

  • Practice Strong Password Hygiene: Use a unique and complex password for each account. A password manager can help generate and store them. In addition, enable two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever available.
  • Invest in Your Safety: Buying the best antivirus for Windows 11 is key for your online security. A high-quality antivirus like Norton, McAfee, or Bitdefender will safeguard your PC from various online threats, including malware, ransomware, and spyware.
  • Be Wary of Phishing Attempts: Be cautious when receiving suspicious communications that ask for personal information. Legitimate businesses will never ask for sensitive details via email or text. Before clicking on any links, ensure the sender's authenticity.
  • Stay Informed. We cover a wide range of cybersecurity topics on our blog. And there are several credible sources offering threat reports and recommendations, such as NIST, CISA, FBI, ENISA, Symantec, Verizon, Cisco, Crowdstrike, and many more.

Happy surfing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the most frequently asked questions.

What is the main purpose of cryptography?

The primary purpose of cryptography is to secure communication in the presence of adversaries. It allows us to transform readable data (plaintext) into unreadable format (ciphertext) and back, ensuring that data can be transmitted without unauthorized entities being able to read or manipulate it.

How secure is quantum cryptography?

Quantum cryptography, particularly the quantum key distribution (QKD), is currently viewed as nearly unbreakable. It’s based on the principles of quantum mechanics, which means any attempt to eavesdrop or intercept the data will change the state of the data and alert the sender and receiver to the intrusion.

What is the future of cryptography with the advent of quantum computing?

Quantum computing presents a potential threat to many current cryptographic systems, but the world is preparing. The field of post-quantum cryptography is working to develop new cryptographic systems that will be secure, even in a world with practical quantum computers. So, while quantum computing might change the landscape, the principles of secure, private communication will endure.

Author: Tibor Moes

Author: Tibor Moes

Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab

Tibor is a Dutch engineer and entrepreneur. He has tested security software since 2014.

Over the years, he has tested most of the best antivirus software for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, as well as many VPN providers.

He uses Norton to protect his devices, CyberGhost for his privacy, and Dashlane for his passwords.

This website is hosted on a Digital Ocean server via Cloudways and is built with DIVI on WordPress.

You can find him on LinkedIn or contact him here.

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