Public-key cryptography, or asymmetric cryptography, is a network data encryption scheme that has two keys – public and private key – as its working parts.
The encryption scheme is classified asymmetric since it uses non-identical key pairs for the process. In this scheme, the public key, which can be shared publicly across the network to forge a connection, is used for encryption, while the private key, which is the exclusive property of the owner and should be kept secret, is used for decryption. The essence of this scheme lies in that though the two keys are mathematically related, you cannot derive the private key from the public key. This means only the person to whom the message is intended, i.e. the one who possesses the private key, can decrypt the message. Public-key cryptography is employed to guarantee data integrity and to prevent hackers from breaking into in-transit data in networks.