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I know the definitions of both but can't specifically tell how they are different and if one is better than the other. Please help.

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possible duplicate of Is MAC better than digital signature? –  archie Nov 1 '13 at 1:49

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They are used in completely different contexts. In public key encryption there is the notion of signature that protects sender authenticity. The secret key is used as the signing key and everybody can verify its correctness. On the other hand in symmetric encryption there is the notion of MAC that protects the integrity of the message with an agreed MAC key between the sender and the receiver.

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So MAC can be used to protect sender authenticity like public-key encryption? –  Shaily Nov 1 '13 at 1:07
no MAC is for message integrity.That is nobody has tampered with your message. Put it simpler an attacker cannot provide valid ciphertexts. –  curious Nov 1 '13 at 1:08
So simply speaking, MAC cannot be used to verify sender authentication because it only protects the message integrity. Alright, thank you so much. –  Shaily Nov 1 '13 at 1:11
Explain the negative vote in order to improve :) –  curious Nov 1 '13 at 11:07

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