Encryption is a process of translating a message, called
the Plaintext, into an encoded message, called the Ciphertext.
This is usually accomplished using a secret Encryption Key
and a cryptographic Cipher.
Two basic types of Encryption are commonly used:
Some interesting politics surround strong Encryption:
- Strong (i.e., hard to break) Encryption algorithms are considered
to be a munitions by the United States government. Exporting such
algorithms therefore amounts to arms smuggling -- a very serious offence!
- Some countries (i.e., France) forbid their citizens from using strong
- Strong encryption algorithms are freely available everywhere in the
world, on the Internet.
- In the United States, it is possible to patent an algorithm, including
an Encryption Cipher. This can limit who can make such algorithms.