Date: November 05, 2012
Filed in: concepts, frontpage

Encryption algorithms: a primer

Encryption algorithms are used to secure the content of communications and stored data.  An algorithm in general is a recipe for calculations which can be performed automatically by a computer. An encryption algorithm (also called a cipher) encrypts a readable plaintext into an unreadable ciphertext. A cipher can usually also perform the reverse operation of decrypting an unreadable ciphertext into a readable plaintext.  For encryption and decryption a cipher needs a key. The security of a cipher depends on the secrecy of the used key.  Two general categories of encryption algorithms exist:

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