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Symmetric-key algorithm

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Symmetric-key algorithms[lower-alpha 1] are algorithms for cryptography that use the same cryptographic keys for both the encryption of plaintext and the decryption of ciphertext. The keys may be identical, or there may be a simple transformation to go between the two keys.[1] The keys, in practice, represent a shared secret between two or more parties that can be used to maintain a private information link.[2] The requirement that both parties have access to the secret key is one of the main drawbacks of symmetric-key encryption, in comparison to public-key encryption (also known as asymmetric-key encryption).[3][4] However, symmetric-key encryption algorithms are usually better for bulk encryption. With exception of the one-time pad they have a smaller key size, which means less storage space and faster transmission. Due to this, asymmetric-key encryption is often used to exchange the secret key for symmetric-key encryption.[5][6][7]

Symmetric-key encryption: the same key is used for both encryption and decryption