What is Private key
Cyber security is a relevant topic in our highly digitalized world. Data, including sensitive data, is sent over networks, which if not shielded well enough can be prone to malicious attacks. This is especially true when the data is sent over the internet. Bad actors could intercept messages and attempt to steal data, modify, or manipulate it.
Several technologies were introduced to maximize security. These include encryption mechanisms. There are two methods of encryption, which is also known as cryptography. Symmetric key encryption uses a single shared key, whereas public key encryption utilizes a combination of a private and a public key, each used to either encrypt or decrypt a message. Encryption, in conjunction with hash functions, are used to ensure the authenticity and integrity of data sent over the internet.
The private key is the combination of characters – numbers and letters – that is generated by cryptography and acts as a digital signature of its owner. On the other hand, the public key is the one used by others to verify the digital identity of the sender and make sure the message has not been modified.
In the context of cryptocurrencies, a private key is the secret key that unlocks a user’s crypto wallet. Users should not lose their private keys, otherwise they lose access to their funds.