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__Symmetric Key__

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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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 parameter used with a cryptographic algorithm to transform, validate, authenticate, encrypt, or decrypt data. Cryptographic keys provide the “secret” portion of a cryptographic algorithm used to encrypt and decrypt data.

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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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Advanced Encryption StandardAdvanced Encryption Standard, a new encryption standard, whose development and selection was sponsored by NIST, that will support key lengths of 128, 192, and 256 bits. FIPS approved cryptographic algorithm that is a symmetric block cipher using cryptographic key sizes of 128, 192, and 256 bits to encrypt and decrypt data in blocks of 128 bits. The encryption standard selected in October 2000 by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that is based on the Rijndael cipher.

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In symmetric key encryption: two trading partners share one or more secrets, and no one else can read their messages. A different key (or set of keys) is needed for each pair of trading partners. The same key is used for encryption and decryption.

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