There are two main types of encryption algorithms available within the .NET Compact Framework - symmetric and asymmetric encryption. This blog entry will discuss how to utilise symmetric key encryption, but first we have to outline the difference between Symmetric and Asymmetric encryption (I will discuss asymmetric key encryption in a future blog entry).
Symmetric and Asymmetric Key Encryption
Symmetric encryption algorithms (also known as ciphers) process plain text with a secret encryption key to create encrypted data (called cipher text). The same secret key is used to decrypt the cipher text back to plain text.
Asymmetric encryption (also known as public-key encryption) is a cryptography technique that uses public and private key pairs to encrypt and decrypt data respectably. The private key is a closely guarded secret, while the public key can be freely distributed over untrusted networks. You do not worry who has your public key (you could print it on a 100foot tall banner if you so desired), but you must keep your private key secret.
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