Difference Between Encryption and Hashing

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 25th, 2023

Difference Between Encryption and Hashing: The two terms Encryption and Hashing are essential parts and widely used words in cryptography. Both operations are fundamentals of computer programming. The major difference between Encryption and Hashing is that Encryption is a two-way function whereas the Hashing is not a two-way function but a one-way function. 

Hashing and Encryption are similar to each other as they convert the data into a particular type of format. Here we will first see the description of Encryption and Hashing individually thereafter we will explore the difference between Encryption and Hashing on the various factors such as purpose, the reverse process, security, and a lot more.

Difference Between Encryption and Hashing

There exist various differences between Encryption and Hashing such as encryption not being a one-way process as the Hashing is, the length of the encrypted string being variable in Encryption but not in Hashing, etc. The detailed comparison of Encryption and Hashing is shown in the table provided below:

Key Differences Between Encryption and Hashing

Encryption Hashing
It is a process of encoding plaintext in order to make them non-readable and the final converted data/text is known as the ciphertext. This is an encryption process where the final conversion is done by the hash function.
Two-way process. One-way process.
It is used for maintaining the security of the information. Used to index and retrieve data.
Less secure than Hashing. More secure than Encryption.
A new key is generated every time. The same key might be generated.
The length of the encrypted data may vary. The length of the hashed data will never vary and is always fixed.

What is Encryption?

Encryption is the process of writing a readable text into ciphertext in order to make it not readable to securely transfer the information from producing source to the destination source. The encryption keys are then used to decode the encrypted message. There are three types of Encryption which are mentioned below:

  • Symmetric Encryption
  • Asymmetric Encryption
  • Hybrid Encryption

Candidates can even learn about the difference between symmetric and asymmetric key encryption here. Basically, Encryption is a process of converting data or information from one form(plaintext) to another non-readable form(ciphertext). The use of encryption is to protect and maintain the privacy of the data. 

What is Hashing?

Hashing is the process of converting a readable plaintext into a specific number using a hash function. The size of the readable text is larger than the hashed value after conversion. It is a mode of encryption. The particular input string in hashing shall have one hash value specified to it. 

Hashing is an irreversible process. The data once went through the hashing process will not be reversed to the original value. Hashing functions used in Hashing process are SHA-256, MD5, RIPMEND SHA1, etc.

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