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Security Portal: An Introduction to Key Management

Oct 10, 2000, 22:47 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Savard)

"Because computers can carry out elaborate sequences of calculations flawlessly, it is possible to encrypt data using complicated algorithms such as DES - and algorithms many times more complex than that. Thus it is not merely tempting, but reasonable to view the problem of devising a cipher no one can break - at least a conventional or symmetric cipher - as a problem that has already been solved. It is seen as a problem hardly worth wasting anyone's time on, except as an amusing pastime."

"But another component of communications security is key management, and that is regarded as more difficult...."

"This means that while one message sent with that program is hard to crack without knowledge of the key phrase, sending two messages with the same key phrase will make both messages easy to read. This is because (as noted above in technical language) each key phrase produces a fixed sequence of pseudo-random numbers that are just added to your message."

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