RSA vs DSA (Difference Between the Two)

RSA and DSA are most common encryption algorithms in cryptography. Both of these encryption systems are used for data encryption.

Although both RSA and DSA work in a similar manner, there are specific differences between the two.

This is a comparison between RSA vs DSA.


In this guide I will be discussing the following:

  • Difference between RSA and DSA.

Difference between RSA and DSA

  • DSA refers to the Digital Signature Algorithm whereas RSA refers to the initials of the people who created it, Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Leonard Adleman.
  • DSA was developed by the NSA to be used by the US government as a standard for digital signatures whereas Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Leonard Adleman created RSA.
  • DSA is based on the ElGamal Signature Algorithm whereas RSA is draws its strength from difficulty of factoring large integers.
  • DSA was built for signing, thus mostly used with digital signatures whereas RSA covers signing in encryption and encryption of the message contained as well.
  • DSA is preferred when faster key generation is need than RSA.
  • DSA produces the keys very quickly compared to RSA.
  • RSA is preferred when faster encryption is required than DSA.
  • RSA encrypts both message and signature for signing in whereas DSA is only used for signing.
  • DSA is faster in decryption process than RSA because it is specialized for a single function only.
  • DSA is best for digital signature generation while RSA is best for quick verification of the digital signature.
  • DSA keys have much shorter signatures than RSA keys.
  • RSA is much better for SSH because it allows keys larger than 1024 bits whereas DSA is limited to 1024 bits.

From above you can see that both RSA and DSA are important encryption algorithms that can be used in both the server and client environments.

Although both RSA and DSA have similar cryptographic strengths, only performance advantages between the two makes one more preferred to the other.

We can conclude that, DSA is best for signing in and decrypting while RSA is best for verification and encryption.

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