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Cryptography Glossary

Algorithm
A procedure that is carried out in sequential steps to solve a problem.
Attack
An attempt to break into a cryptosystem.
Authentication
The process of verifying information including identity, ownership, or authorization.
Back Door
A cipher design fault that allows access to a system who discover the secret.
Blind Signature Scheme
Scheme that allows one party to have another party sign a message without knowing the contents.
Block Cipher
Encrypts data in blocks.
Certificate
An electronic document provided by Certifying Authorities that binds information that identifies the owner with a public key.
Clipper
An encryption chip developed by the US government to be used in all encrypted communications. It would allow the government to "listen in" after obtaining a warrant.
Cryptography
The method of making information secure.
Decryption
Term for extracting information that has been encrypted.
Digital Fingerprint
Similar to digital signature.
Digital Signature
The value that provides authentication in an electronic document.
Distributed Key
A key that is divided into several parts and shared with multiple participants.
Encryption
Term used to define hiding information in a secret cipher.
Expiration Date
Date when a certificate or key expires.
Forgery
Data item with content that misleads the recipient into believing it came from a different source.
Key
A string of bits that allows someone to encrypt or decrypt data.
Key Schedule
In a Block Cipher this is the algorithm that generates the subkeys.
Key Space
A collection of all the possible keys for a cryptosystem.
Life Cycle
How long a key can be used and still provide adequate security.
One Time Password-A password that can only be used once.
Password
A key in the form of a word or group of characters that allows the user to access an area that is secure.
Plain Text
Data to be encrypted.
Random Number Generator
A device or algorithm that generates a sequence of numbers that has no set pattern.
Reusable Password
A password that can be used repeatedly.
Running Time
How long it takes for a specific algorithm to run as a function.
Salt
An arbitrary value that is attached to a password before hash authentication, that is unique to a specific user.
Secret Key
A crypto key with a symmetric algorithm that is used for both encrypting and decrypting the same data.
Server
A computer that provides services to other computers, or a software program that provides a specific service to client software running on that computer or others n a network.
Session Key
A key that is used only one time for a single session or message and then is discarded.
SKIPJACK
The Block Cipher that is in the Clipper Chip.
Sniffing
An attack that copies the content of network messages to obtain information such as passwords.
Splitting
The process of dividing a crypto key into two parts so that the key can't be reconstructed if an attacker intercepts one part.
Symmetric Cipher
Ciper that uses the same key to encrypt as well as to decrypt the data.
Transmission Control Protocol
Internet protocol that is used to provide a reliable connection between a server and a client.
Transport Mode
ESP mode that encrypts the data but not the original IP addresses.
Tunnel Mode
ESP mode that encrypts data and IP addresses.
Vernam Cipher
The original cipher that was developed to encrypt teletype traffic, patented in 1919.
Vulnerability
Weakness in security that could allow an opponent to attack and penetrate a cryptosystem.
Wide Area Network
A group of host computers and sites that are connected across a wide geographic area through a network.