Encyclopedia of Multimedia

2008 Edition
| Editors: Borko Furht

Public Key Versus Secret Key Encryption

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-78414-4_188
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Definition

The purpose of a key in encryption systems is to ensure privacy by keeping information hidden from whom it is not intended. There are two types of encryption systems: secret-key and public-key systems.

Encryption is the transformation of data, the plaintext, into a form that is as close to impossible as possible to read, the ciphetext, without the appropriate knowledge (a key). Its purpose is to ensure privacy by keeping information hidden from anyone for whom it is not intended, even those who have access to the encrypted data, the ciphetext [1].

There are two types of encryption systems: secret-key and public-key systems (see Fig. 1). In secret-key encryption, also referred to as symmetric cryptography, the same key is used for both encryption and decryption. The most popular secret-key cryptosystem in use today is the Data Encryption Standard (DES, see [1, 2, 3]). In general, the security of a secret-key system depends on the strength of the algorithm and the length of...
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References

  1. 1.
    RSA Laboratories, “RSA Laboratories' Frequently Asked Questions About Today's Cryptography, Version 4.1,” RSA Security Inc., 2000.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    B. Schneier, “Applied Cryptography,” 2nd Ed., Wiley, New York, 1996.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    R.K. Nichols, “ICSA guide to cryptography,” McGraw-Hill, New York, 1999.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008