The practise and study of encryption
- encoding data so that it can only be decoded by specific individuals. A system for encrypting and decrypting data is a cryptosystem. These usually involve an algorithm
for combining the original data ("plaintext
") with one or more "keys" - numbers or strings of characters known only to the sender and/or recipient. The resulting output is known as "ciphertext
The security of a cryptosystem usually depends on the secrecy of (some of) the keys rather than with the supposed secrecy of the algorithm
. A strong cryptosystem has a large range of possible keys so that it is not possible to just try all possible keys (a "brute force
" approach). A strong cryptosystem will produce ciphertext which appears random to all standard statistical tests. A strong cryptosystem will resist all known previous methods for breaking codes ("cryptanalysis
See also cryptology
, public-key encryption
newsgroups: news:sci.crypt, news:sci.crypt.research. FAQ
Cryptography glossary (http://io.com/~ritter/GLOSSARY.HTM#BruteForceAttack).
RSA cryptography glossary (http://rsasecurity.com/rsalabs/faq/glossary.html).
Cryptography, PGP, and Your Privacy (http://draco.centerline.com:8080/~franl/crypto.html).