Cryptography Terms 101

In short: Cryptography is the practice, encryption / decryption is the process, and cipher is the algorithm. Key (either symmetric or asymmetric / public private key), hash and salt are used to build the algorithm.

is the practice and study of hiding information. Modern cryptography intersects the disciplines of mathematics, computer science, and electrical engineering.

Cipher / Decipher

is an algorithm for performing encryption or decryption – a series of well-defined steps that can be followed as a procedure.

is the process of transforming information (referred to as plaintext) using an algorithm (called cipher) to make it unreadable to anyone except those possessing special knowledge, usually referred to as a key.

is a piece of information (a parameter) that determines the functional output of a cryptographic algorithm or cipher.

Symmetric: use trivially related, often identical, cryptographic keys for both decryption and encryption.
ex: Twofish, Serpent, AES, Blowfish.
Asymmetric: use different cryptographic keys to encrypt and decrypt.

it refers to a widely used set of methods for transforming a written message into a form that can be read only by the intended recipient.
basically, the asymmetric key.

well-defined procedure or mathematical function that converts a large, possibly variable-sized amount of data, into a small datum.
ex: SHA-1, MD5

consists of random bits that are appended to a passphrase before hashing / encrypting the original passphrase.

a data encryption and decryption computer program that provides cryptographic privacy and authentication for data communication. Created by Philip Zimmermann in 1991.


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