# Difference between Private Key and Public Key

Private Keys and Public Keys terms are used in cryptography. These keys are used to encrypt/decrypt sensitive data. Read through this article to find out more about private and public keys and how they are different from each other.

## What is Private Key?

The private key is used in both encryption as well as decryption. This key is shared between the sender and receiver of the encrypted sensitive information. The private key is also called "symmetric" because it is shared by both parties. Private key cryptography is faster than public-key cryptography mechanism.

A private key is generally a lengthy, non-guessable sequence of bits created randomly or pseudo-randomly. The complexity and length of a private key define how easy it is for an attacker to carry out a bruteforce attack, in which they test out several keys until they find the appropriate one.

## What is Public Key?

Asymmetric cryptography, often known as public-key cryptography, is a type of encryption that employs pairs of keys. A public key (which may be known to others) and a private key (which may not be known to anyone except the owner) make up each pair. Cryptographic techniques based on mathematical problems known as one-way functions are used to generate such key pairs.

A private key should be kept secret for effective security; a public key can be freely circulated without jeopardizing security.

In such a system, anybody can encrypt a message using the intended receiver's public key, but only the receiver's private key can decode the message. This allows a server application to produce a cryptographic key for compatible symmetric-key cryptography, then encrypt that freshly generated symmetric key using a client's freely disclosed public key.

A public-key encryption system's most apparent application is for encrypting communication to guarantee secrecy – a message that a sender encrypts using the recipient's public key and can only be decoded by the recipient's associated private key.

## Difference between Private Key and Public Key

The following table highlights the important differences between Private Keys and Public Keys.

KeyPrivate KeyPublic Key
AlgorithmPrivate key is used for both encrypting and decrypting the sensitive data. It is shared between the sender and receiver of encrypted data.Public key is used only for the purpose of encrypting the data.
PerformanceThe private key mechanism is faster.The public key mechanism is slower.
SecrecyThe private key is kept secret and not public to anyone apart from the sender and the receiver.The public key is free to use and the private key is kept secret only.
TypeThe private key mechanism is called "symmetric" because a single key is shared between two parties.The public key mechanism is called "asymmetric" because there are two keys for different purposes.
SharingThe private key is to be shared between two parties.The public key can be used by anyone but the private key is to be shared between two parties only.
TargetsPerformance testing checks the reliability, scalability, and speed of the system.Load testing checks the sustainability of the system.

## Conclusion

To conclude, private keys can be used for both encryption and decryption, while Public keys are used only for the purpose of encrypting the sensitive data. Private keys are shared between the sender and the receiver, whereas public keys can be freely circulated among multiple users.