Cryptography Glossary

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.