Symmetric encryption – stream versus block cipher

Symmetric encryption uses a block cipher, where blocks of data are encrypted. The key size determines how large the block of data is; for example, if I use DES, then I can only encrypt blocks of 56 bits, whereas AES can encrypt blocks of data of up to 256 bits.

Asymmetric encryption encrypts one bit at a time, therefore it is slower but more secure than symmetric encryption as it uses a larger key size and uses two keys: public and private.

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