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Public key cryptography

An asymmetric cryptosystem where the encrypting and decrypting keys are different and it is computationally infeasible to calculate one form the other, given the encrypting algorithm. In public key cryptography, the encrypting key is made public, but the decrypting key is kept secret.


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This is an information system utilizing an algorithm or series of algorithms which provide a cryptographic key pair consisting of a private key and a corresponding public key. The keys of the pair have the properties that (1) the public key can verify a digital signature that the private key creates, and (2) it is computationally infeasible to discover or derive the private key from the public key. The public key can therefore be disclosed without significantly risking disclosure of the private key. This can be used for confidentiality as well as for authentication.
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A value that is used to encrypt or decrypt messages and is made public to any user and used with a private key in asymmetric cryptography. In an asymmetric cryptography scheme, the key that may be widely published to enable the operation of the scheme. Typically, a public key can be used to encrypt, but not decrypt, or to validate a signature, but not to sign.
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A form of cryptography that does not use symmetric keys. It either uses complex formulas to solve problems (such as Diffie-Hellman to generate/exchange symmetric keys) or uses key pair sets to provide digital signatures and digital envelopes. This latter form is also known as public key cryptography.
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A subset of asymmetric cryptography based on the use of a key pair set consisting of a public key and a private key. Messages encrypted with one key from the pair can be decrypted only with the other key from the same pair.
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A method of performing a cryptographic transformation (. See cryptography) on a data unit. Cryptographic algorithms may be based on symmetric key methods (the same key is used for both encipher and decipher transformations) or on asymmetric keys (different keys are used for encipher and decipher transformations).
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