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Private Key

A secret value that is used to encrypt or decrypt messages and is kept secret and known only to the user; used in conjunction with a public key in asymmetrical cryptography. The private or secret key of a key pair, which must be kept confidential and is used to decrypt messages encrypted with the public key, or to digitally sign messages, which can then be validated with the public key.


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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 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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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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(C&A) Official responsible for performing the comprehensive evaluation of the security features of an information system and determining the degree to which it meets its security requirements. (PKI) Trusted entity authorized to create, sign, and issue public key certificates. By digitally signing each certificate issued, the user’s identity is certified, and the association of the certified identity with a public key is validated.
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An algorithm that relies on a “shared secret” encryption key that is distributed to all members who participate in communications. This key is used by all parties to both encrypt and decrypt messages. Encryption methodology in which the encryptor and decryptor use the same key, which must be kept secret.
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