Questions tagged [terminology]

Questions about the meaning and proper use of specific technical terms or notation within cryptography.

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130
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2answers
116k views

What is the main difference between a key, an IV and a nonce?

What are the main differences between a nonce, a key and an IV? Without any doubt the key should be kept secret. But what about the nonce and the IV? What's the main difference between them and their ...
52
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2answers
26k views

What is the difference between a digest and a hash function?

I was wondering about the difference between these two terms... What is the difference between a digest and a hash function?
50
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6answers
9k views

Kerckhoffs’ principles – Why should I make my cipher public?

As I understand it, the less people know about the internals of my protocol or cipher, the more secure the protocol is. However Kerckhoffs's principle states that A cryptosystem should be secure ...
45
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1answer
19k views

Easy explanation of “IND-” security notions?

There are many schemes that can advertise themselves with certain security notions, usually IND-CPA or IND-CCA2, for example plain ElGamal has IND-CPA security but doesn't provide IND-CCA security. ...
45
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1answer
6k views

What is a “freestart collision”?

In their work on SHA-1 collisions (cf. the EUROCRYPT-2016 paper “Freestart collision on full SHA-1” by Stevens, Karpman, and Peyrin) Stevens et al show that they are able to generate "freestart ...
42
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2answers
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Differences between the terms “pre-master secret”, “master secret”, “private key”, and “shared secret”?

Both crypto.SE and security.SE have excellent Q&As about how TLS generates session keys (I have linked some at the bottom). In reading these threads I'm having troubles with terminology since the ...
40
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1answer
16k views

What are SNARKs?

What does it mean and what is it used for, I have been hearing this term a lot lately. From the context I've heard it talked about it seems to be connected with zero knowledge?
39
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3answers
21k views

What are the differences Between “White-Box Cryptography” and “Code Obfuscation”?

I have been reading the question "What is a white-box implementation of a cryptographic algorithm?" and it led to this short article / Q&A which states in question 2: Q2: What is the ...
39
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1answer
4k views

What is “Fast Prime”?

In this note, the manufacturer of a RSA key generation gizmo vulnerable to the new ROCA attack (see second section) explains that it is common practice to employ acceleration algorithms in order to ...
32
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5answers
23k views

What is the difference between CSPRNG and PRNG?

What is the difference between CSPRNG and PRNG? Is there performance differential between them? For example: We use PRNG for key generation which is very expensive and CSPRNG for IV/nonce in block ...
32
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4answers
5k views

Are checksums essentially non-secure versions of cryptographic hashes?

Are checksums basically toned-down versions of cryptographic hashes? As in: they are supposed to detect errors that occur naturally/randomly as opposed to being designed to prevent a knowledgeable ...
30
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1answer
37k views

What is Attribute Based Encryption?

Can someone explain what attribute based encryption is? I was searching for a book or something that can help me in this regard but so far I have found none. Google also returns practically nothing ...
30
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8answers
34k views

Simply put, what does “perfect secrecy” mean?

I would like to ask for a clear (but maybe not so deep) explanation of what the term "perfect secrecy" means. As far as I have researched and understood, it has to do with probabilities of assuming ...
26
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2answers
21k views

Why is Diffie-Hellman considered in the context of public key cryptography?

In all textbooks I used the Diffie-Hellman key exchange is under "public key cryptography". As far as I can see it is a method to exchange a key to be used with a symmetric cryptographic algorithm, ...
24
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2answers
8k views

Is there any difference between cryptography and cryptology?

Is there a difference between cryptography and cryptology, if any? An internet search suggests that both terms can be used interchangeably.
21
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4answers
17k views

The exact difference between a permutation and a substitution

I've noticed confusing definitions about permutation and substitution, preventing me from understanding the difference. A permutation changes the order of distinct elements of a set, but this can be ...
21
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2answers
3k views

What does “birational equivalence” mean in a cryptographic context?

In a recent question on using the same curve for signing and ECDH it was noted for the Ed25519 curve and Curve25519: Nitpick: the curves are birationally equivalent, not isomorphic. Now this term ...
21
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2answers
2k views

Definition of “pepper” in hash functions

I am confused about the notion of "pepper" in the context of storing hashes of users' passwords. Definition 1: A pepper is a secret key Looking around the Internet, for example here or here, a ...
19
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1answer
7k views

How are the names of cryptographic algorithms (like RSA, AES, SHA-256, Curve25519, etc.) pronounced?

I'll have to give a spoken presentation on cryptography and I don't want to make any pronunciation mistakes. Therefore I'm asking how I should pronounce acronyms like RSA, AES, SHA-1, SHA-256, IGE and ...
19
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1answer
4k views

What do the signature security abbreviations like EUF-CMA mean?

From time to time, one stumbles across formal security definitions. This includes security definitions for signature schemes. The most common ones are the *UF-* ...
17
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1answer
1k views

What is the origin of the word “Keccak”?

Where does the word or acronym Keccak come from? Guido Bertoni, Joan Daemen, Michael Peeters, and Gilles Van Assche. Keccak sponge function family main document. Submission to NIST (updated), 2009. "...
16
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6answers
3k views

How exactly is “true randomness” defined in the realms of cryptography?

Especially in relation to stream ciphers, I frequently read about (sometimes theoretical, sometimes practical) attacks that are able to "distinguish a ciphertext from a truly random stream". What's ...
15
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2answers
3k views

What is the difference between TRNG and CSPRNG?

I understand the output of a TRNG is almost impossible to reproduce, such a flipping a coin 100 times to produce a 100-bit sequence. However, it is also my understanding that a CSPRNG produces an ...
15
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3answers
5k views

What's a cryptographic primitive, really?

The more I encounter the term "cryptographic primitive," the less I feel confident that I truly understand what it means. Is it just me, or is there no universal definition for the term? Or does the ...
14
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6answers
5k views

Cryptography vs Security

This may sound a little bit of basic but here it goes… Which of the following is correct? “Cryptography is under the security field”, or “Security is under the cryptography field?” Cryptography ...
14
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1answer
2k views

What was NIST’s reason to switch naming from MD… (Message Digest) to SHA… (Secure Hashing Algorithm)?

When NIST introduced SHA-0 in 1993, they – for the first time – switched their naming convention from MD-n to SHA-n. Since both point to similar constructions (read: hashing algorithms with the same ...
14
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2answers
572 views

Does GCM (or GHASH) only provide 64-bit security against forgeries?

In a recent comment a doubt was voiced about my answer, which claims GCM to requires $2^{128}$ for a successful forgery. The doubt was that the square root needs to be taken meaning the security would ...
14
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1answer
2k views

What is “witness encryption”?

I recently skimmed over tho papers on time-lock encryption: “Time-release Protocol from Bitcoin and Witness Encryption for SAT” by Liu, Garcia, and Ryan “How to Build Time-Lock Encryption” by Jager ...
13
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7answers
6k views

Can I say “I have encrypted something” if I hash something?

As I understand it, a hashing algorithm is some kind of encryption, just a specific kind of it. So is it wrong to say "I encrypted this value." if I "only" hash it? I understand that it gives the ...
13
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2answers
2k views

What is a “witness” in zero knowledge proof?

I've seen the term "witness" tossed around when talking about knowledge extractors, but I have no idea what it means. I can't find a definition. What is a “witness” in zero knowledge proof?
13
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1answer
3k views

What is cryptographic agility?

I keep seeing the term "Cryptographic Agility" referenced. What does it mean? For instance: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/bb204775(v=vs.85).aspx One of the key value ...
12
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1answer
2k views

Boolean Circuits vs Arithmetic Circuits

I am just wondering what's the differences between boolean circuits and arithmetic circuits? I know the basic notions of circuits. My question is their applications in cryptography. For example, why ...
12
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1answer
10k views

Encoding vs. Compression vs. Encryption

In what ways does encryption differ from proprietary/secret compression schemes and codecs?
11
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3answers
3k views

Why was the term “discrete” used in discrete logarithm?

Is there anything especially "discrete" about a discrete logarithm? This is not a question of what is a discrete logarithm or why the discrete logarithm problem is an "intractable problem" given ...
11
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2answers
3k views

What does “circuits” mean in Cryptography?

I am not a hardcore cryptographer so this might be a really stupid question. I am looking through some papers in homomorphic encryption and discovered they describe computation as "circuits", why do ...
11
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1answer
2k views

What is a pseudo-collision attack?

In the context of cryptographic hash function collisions, what exactly is a pseudo-collision attack? E.g., pseudo-collisions are discussed here: Preimage and Pseudo-Collision Attacks on Step-Reduced ...
11
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2answers
1k views

K out of N encryption

A friend just showed me how to combine padlocks to achieve a lock that opens when k out of n people turn their keys. I was ...
11
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1answer
186 views

A general definition for cryptocurrencies

I am trying to find the definitions to several terms related to digital currencies. Unfortunately, I am always ending up on Bitcoin-oriented pages and websites which only take Bitcoin itself into ...
10
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1answer
8k views

What is a Pedersen commitment?

I couldn't find any answer providing a high-level overview on what Pedersen commitments are or what they are used for.
10
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4answers
3k views

What is the difference between a 'cipher' and a 'mode of operation'?

What is the difference between the term cipher (a name like RIJNDAEL) and mode of operation (like ECB)? Aren't these both terms for the encryption/decryption technique?
10
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1answer
3k views

What is it meant by a “hybrid argument”?

Can anyone explain (or point to a reference for) what a hybrid argument is in a security proof, and when it's convenient or preferable to use it? Among some of the places where I've seen it mentioned,...
10
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1answer
873 views

Are there any authoritative definitions of “key stretching”?

This is mostly a terminology question, but I suppose that it is best asked and answered here. After browsing the Internet I have come across a fair number of completely different definitions of the ...
9
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2answers
10k views

What is the difference between PBE and symmetric key encryption?

What is the difference between PBE (password based encryption) and symmetric-key algorithms? My understanding is that symmetric-key algorithms like AES and Twofish are used in PBE. Hence PBE is just ...
9
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2answers
15k views

SHA-256 “almost unique”?

I have seen numerous references on the internet of people describing SHA-256 as generating an "almost unique" hash. Exhibit A. there are more. Is there some mathematical basis to the almost ...
9
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1answer
5k views

What does Maj and Ch mean in SHA-256 algorithm?

I'm guessing they're some kind of standard function but what do they do and what do the names mean? A little explaination or link me to an article would be great.
9
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2answers
1k views

What is meaning of the term “language”?

I don't have much formal background, and I could not find a suitable explanation for this after searching on Google/Wikipedia. What is the meaning of the term "language" as used in cryptographic ...
9
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1answer
2k views

“Seed” vs “seed key”

The FIPS 140-2 Derived Test Requirements has a statement: AS07.09: (Levels 1, 2, 3, and 4) The seed and seed key shall not have the same value. What is the difference between a seed and a "seed ...
9
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3answers
3k views

What does “export grade” cryptography mean? And how is this related to the Logjam attack?

I am doing some research on the Logjam attack, and I need help in learning some terms that are new for me. What does "export grade" cryptography mean? And how is this related to the Logjam attack?
9
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2answers
424 views

What is the official, generally accepted definition of “lightweight crypto”?

I frequently stumble upon the term "lightweight crypto". It tends to be used is a for special algorithms that use less resources, for constrained systems. Yet, it's somewhat unclear to me ...
9
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1answer
3k views

What is “Blinding” used for in cryptography?

What does "blinding" mean in cryptography, and where do we usually use it? Can you describe a sample implementation?

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