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Public Key Crypto for Enterprise Users

Dec 04, 2008, 02:33 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Paul Rubens)

"To understand how public key cryptography works, let's consider secure communications in general. One way to send a confidential message to someone is to agree on an obfuscation system in advance--like substituting each letter in the message with the next one in the alphabet.

"A more sophisticated method would be to use encryption software which uses an encryption algorithm, known as a cipher. The message (known as plaintext ) is entered and passed to the algorithm along with a key--a string of characters that you supply--comes out in encrypted form (known as ciphertext.) This unintelligible jumble of characters can only be converted back to the original plaintext by passing the message through the same cipher and supplying the same key. This is known as a symmetric encryption system."

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