Cryptography is the process of encrypting and decrypting data in order to keep that data safe when storing or transmitting it.
Encryption is a way of hiding data by converting it to an encoded format.
Decryption is a way of revealing encrypted data by decoding it from its encoded format.
Ciphers can be symmetric or asymmetric.
Asymmetric ciphers can be slower than symmetric ciphers but have additional use-cases in authentication and non-repudiation.
Hashing is a one-way process that takes data of any size and represents it as a unique hash value of a fixed size. No matter how large or complex your file is, hashing provides a fast, reliable way to compare files and verify their authenticity.
Hashing lets you check if two pieces of information are the same, without knowing what the information itself actually is.
Hashing can be used to store sensitive data in a secure way.
Ephemeral keys are keys that are discarded after being generated and used.
This means that there is little benefit to an attacker who steals the key because the key quickly becomes useless!
Cryptography is a powerful tool for maintaining both confidentiality and integrity. Powerful ciphers prevent unauthorized parties from accessing information without the appropriate key, while cryptographic hashing algorithms make it easy to see if information has been altered, maliciously or otherwise.
Given enough time, any encryption can be broken using brute force. The ciphers we use today are designed to take an extremely long time to be cracked, but computing power is always growing.
Design flaws can allow a cipher to be cracked much faster than would be possible using brute force alone. Cryptography needs to be implemented and applied correctly to work. Strong ciphers are useless if the key is easily stolen, or the data they encrypt is stored in plaintext elsewhere.