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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
Stream Cipher
3.
Advantages
4.
Disadvantages
5.
Frequently Asked Questions
5.1.
What is the Block Cipher method? 
5.2.
What is the difference between Cipher Feedback Mode and the Output Feedback Mode? 
5.3.
What is the difference between Electronic Code Block and Cipher Code Training? 
6.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

What are Stream Ciphers?

Author Neha Chauhan
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Introduction

Cryptography is the technique of securing communication between members so that the information does not reach any unintended recipient. Encryption is the process of converting plain text (human-readable) text into text that is not in human-readable form. Decryption is the process of converting non-human readable text into plain text (readable text). The algorithm used for encryption and decryption is called Cipher. 

Stream Cipher is an encryption technique in which the cryptographic algorithm is applied to each plain text byte.

What are stream ciphers?


In this article, we will discuss what stream cipher is and how it works. 

Stream Cipher

In the Stream Cipher encryption technique, the cryptographic algorithm is applied to each and every byte of the plain text. 

It tries to scramble the plain text so that it is not in a readable form. This scrambled data can be changed back into plain text by using a key. 

A stream cipher requires these three components - 

1️⃣ A message - This is the plain text that you want to encrypt. 

2️⃣ KeyStream - Stream Cipher uses a symmetric key to encrypt and decrypt the data. A symmetric key is the kind of key that can be used for both encryption and decryption. A key(k) will be supplied to the pseudo-random bit generator that generates a keystream. 

3️⃣ Cipher Text - The final encoded message

The following steps are followed to generate an encrypted message- 

✔️ For the first step, an Initiation Vector is used. This Initiation Vector is put into a pseudo-random bit generator to create a pseudo-random keystream of the size same as the plain text. 

✔️ After the keystream is generated, it is XORed with the plain text to create cipher text. 

Are you wondering where stream ciphers are used? Well, stream ciphers are widely used by web browsers for safe communication. When a user connects to a protected website, the site sends an SSL certificate to the user's computer. That document is encrypted, and most sites use stream ciphers for that communication.

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Advantages

✔️ This type of encryption technology is faster than any other technique. 

✔️ It is very easy to use, and complicated hardware is not required. 

✔️ The data can be sent byte by byte instead of waiting for everything to be done.

✔️ Stream Cipher makes cryptanalysis very difficult. Cryptanalysis means decoding the encrypted text without access to the secret key. It is very secure. It is very difficult to decrypt a Stream Cipher text message without the secret key.

✔️ If you use a longer keystream, Stream Cipher can safeguard the message from Brute Force Attacks. Brute Force Attacks are attacks in which the attacker tries to guess the secret key by using hit and trial. 

Disadvantages

1️⃣ Every information of plain text symbol will be contained in one ciphertext symbol.

2️⃣ If we use the same key more than once, stream ciphers can be easily hacked. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Block Cipher method? 

The Block cipher method is an encryption and decryption technique in which the plain text is encrypted by dividing the text into blocks of equal size, producing blocks of cryptic text of the same size as the plain text. 

What is the difference between Cipher Feedback Mode and the Output Feedback Mode? 

The Cipher Feedback Mode and the Output Feedback Mode are very similar. Still, there are two differences between them - the first difference is that in Output Feedback Mode, the encrypted text is given as input to the next phase, unlike the cipher text in the Cipher Feedback Mode, and the second difference is that the encrypted message is NOT divided into any parts in case of Output Feedback Mode. 

What is the difference between Electronic Code Block and Cipher Code Training? 

In the case of an Electronic Code Block, the phase is independent of each other, while in Cipher Code Training, the output cipher text of the previous block is given as an input for the XOR operation with the plain text.  

Conclusion

Pat yourself on the back for finishing this article. In this article, we discussed what Stream Ciphers are and what steps the Stream Ciphers follow to generate a Cipher text. 

Do not stop learning! We recommend you read these articles - 

🔥 What is Cryptography?

🔥 What are basic Cryptography tools?

🔥 Message Authentication Codes in Cryptography

🔥 Security in Cryptography

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How are Block Ciphers different from Stream Ciphers?
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