Sometimes people fight over same things, because they define them differently.

Cybersecurity, cryptography has come a long way where we use ciphers to protect data and enable encryption. But all these terms are still maturing. That’s why I am writing this blog… put a definition to these terms….


This term is made up of two different words “Crypto” and “Graphy
Crypto/Crypt: Means “hidden”, “secret”. Originally it comes from Greek kryptós. 

Graphy: Denoting a process or form of drawing, writing,representing, recording, describing, etc., or an art or science concerned with such a process.

So, we can say: Cryptography is a process of representing, describing, creating hidden or secret things.


If you breakdown the the base word “Encryption” into its root, you will see “en” and “crypt”. The “en” part means “to make”, and the “crypt” part . Since “encrypt” is a verb, the base term then means “to make hidden or secret”.


Encryption: is the process of encoding a message or information in such a way that only authorized parties can access it. In order for this process to be useful, you need an algorithm so that you can “encipher” the plaintext, a key and a key holder to represent the authorized parties. The whole process of enciphering the text and sending it such that only the authorized recipient will receive it is called Encryption.

Cipher/Encipherment: In cryptography, a cipher (or cypher) is an algorithm for performing encryption or decryption—a series of well-defined steps that can be followed as a procedure. An alternative, less common term is encipherment. To encipher or encode is to convert information into cipher or code.

What that means is, Encipherment is part of Encryption. Encryption and Encipherement are NOT the same thing. Encipherment is used in performing Encryption.

Process of taking a plaintext like “ABCDEFG” and converting into ciphertext is the process of “Encipherment”.

Process of taking a plaintext like “ABCDEFG” and converting into ciphertext in order to make it “hidden or secret” for the purposes of making sure only the intended recipient receives the data is the process of “Encryption”.

Here is an example of encipherment:

We will demonstrate a “Shift Cipher”, simply put, we ‘shift’ the letter A some number of spaces , For example, a three shift looks like:

plaintext:  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
ciphertext: X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W

In this example, the message:


from Alice to Bob would look like


As you can see W->T, because it shifted 3 spaces. This is a very simple example of a cipher (the algorithm), or the process of encipherment.