# 99. Glossary of Cryptographic Terms: p2

## Description

This article is from the PGP FAQ, by Jeff Licquia jalicqui@prairienet.org with numerous contributions by
others.

# 99. Glossary of Cryptographic Terms: p2

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NSA (National Security Agency)

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The following information is from the sci.crypt FAQ:

The NSA is the official communications security body of the U.S.

government. It was given its charter by President Truman in the early

50's, and has continued research in cryptology till the present. The

NSA is known to be the largest employer of mathematicians in the

world, and is also the largest purchaser of computer hardware in the

world. Governments in general have always been prime employers of

cryptologists. The NSA probably possesses cryptographic expertise many

years ahead of the public state of the art, and can undoubtedly break

many of the systems used in practice; but for reasons of national

security almost all information about the NSA is classified.

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PGP (Pretty Good Privacy)

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The program we're discussing. See question 1.1.

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PKP (Public Key Partners)

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A patent holding company that holds many public-key patents, including

(supposedly) the patent on public-key cryptography itself. Several of

its patents are not believed by some to be valid, including their

patent on RSA (which affects PGP).

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RIPEM

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See PEM

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RSA (Rivest-Shamir-Adleman)

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RSA is the public key encryption method used in PGP. RSA are the

initials of the developers of the algorithm which was done at taxpayer

expense. The basic security in RSA comes from the fact that, while it

is relatively easy to multiply two huge prime numbers together to

obtain their product, it is computationally difficult to go the

reverse direction: to find the two prime factors of a given composite

number. It is this one-way nature of RSA that allows an encryption key

to be generated and disclosed to the world, and yet not allow a

message to be decrypted.

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RSAREF

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This is the free library RSA Data Security, Inc., made available for

the purpose of implementing freeware PEM applications. It implements

several encryption algorithms, including (among others) RSA. MIT PGP

uses RSAREF's RSA routines to avoid the alleged patent problems

associated with other versions of PGP.

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Skipjack

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See Clipper

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