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A cipher represents an algorithm that serves the purpose of encrypting or decrypting data and files. Typically, when looking into ciphers, you will see block ciphers and stream ciphers. A block cipher encrypts data in blocks to produce ciphertext using a cryptographic key and algorithm. The block cipher processes “fixed-size” blocks simultaneously, unlike a stream cipher, which encrypts data one bit at a time. Most modern block ciphers are designed to encrypt data in fixed-size blocks of either 64 or 128 bits. When looking into purposes of when to use a block cipher, data at rest is what comes to mind. When we have data at rest, or that is stored, block cipher seems to be the most appropriate.
Alternatively, a stream cipher works in encrypting data byte by byte from the visual plaintext into a form of code that is not readable to the human eye. It is understood as being faster as it targets a byte at a time versus a large “chunk” of data, as seen in the block cipher. Moreover, stream cipher allows for a more linear transaction as the same key both encrypts and decrypts data. Standard practices for stream cipher lends itself to that of a wireless networks or cell phone (GSM) networks of devices that have a finite number of resources.