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Difference between Confusion and Diffusion

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  • Difficulty Level : Medium
  • Last Updated : 25 Jan, 2023
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In cryptography, confusion and diffusion are two properties of the operation of a secure cipher. Both Confusion and Diffusion are used to stop the deduction of the secret writing key, these properties, when present, work to thwart the application of statistics and other methods of cryptanalysis.

Confusion is employed for making uninformed cipher text whereas diffusion is employed for increasing the redundancy of the plain text over the foremost part of the cipher text to make it obscure. The stream cipher solely depends on confusion, where else, diffusion is employed by both stream and block cipher.

Confusion = Substitution
a --> b
Example : Caesar Cipher 

Diffusion = Transposition or Permutation
abcd --> dacb
Example : DES 

Let’s see the difference b/w Confusion and Diffusion:

S.NO Confusion Diffusion
1. Confusion is a cryptographic technique that is used to create faint cipher texts. Diffusion is used to create cryptic plain texts.
2. Confusion is possible through substitution algorithms. Diffusion is possible through transposition algorithms.
3. In confusion, if one bit within the secret is modified, most or all bits within the cipher text also will be modified. In diffusion, if one image within the plain text is modified, many or all image within the cipher text also will be modified
4. In confusion, vagueness is increased in resultant. In diffusion, redundancy is increased in the resultant.
5. Both stream cipher and block cipher use confusion. Only block cipher use diffusion.
6. The relation between the cipher text and the key is masked by confusion. The relation between the cipher text and the plain text is masked by diffusion.
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