Authored by: Katz Jonathan

Computing Handbook

Print publication date:  May  2014
Online publication date:  May  2014

Print ISBN: 9781439898529
eBook ISBN: 9781439898536
Adobe ISBN:


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Cryptography is a vast subject, addressing problems as diverse as e-cash, remote authentication, fault-tolerant distributed computing, and more. We cannot hope to give a comprehensive account of the field here. Instead, we will narrow our focus to those aspects of cryptography most relevant to the problem of secure communication. Broadly speaking, secure communication encompasses two complementary goals: the secrecy and integrity of communicated data. These terms can be illustrated using the simple example of a user A attempting to transmit a message m to a user B over a public channel. In the simplest sense, techniques for data secrecy ensure that an eavesdropping adversary (i.e., an adversary who sees all communication occurring on the channel) cannot learn any information about the underlying message m. Viewed in this way, such techniques protect against a passive adversary who listens to—but does not otherwise interfere with—the parties’ communication. Techniques for data integrity, on the other hand, protect against an active adversary who may arbitrarily modify the information sent over the channel or may inject new messages of his own. Security in this setting requires that any such modifications or insertions performed by the adversary will be detected by the receiving party.

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