Public Key Versus Secret Key Encryption
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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 .
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