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Public-Key Cryptography Standards
<cryptography, standard> (PKCS) A set of standards for public-key
cryptography, developed by RSA Data Security, Inc. in cooperation with an
informal consortium, originally including Apple, Microsoft, DEC, Lotus, Sun and
MIT. The PKCS have been cited by the OSI Implementers' Workshop (OIW) as a
method for implementation of OSI standards.
PKCS includes both algorithm-specific and algorithm-independent implementation
standards. Many algorithms are supported, including RSA and Diffie-Hellman key
exchange, however, only the latter two are specifically detailed. PKCS also
defines an algorithm-independent syntax for digital signatures, digital
envelopes, and extended digital certificates; this enables someone implementing
any cryptographic algorithm whatsoever to conform to a standard syntax, and thus
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<cryptography> (PKE, Or "public-key cryptography") An encryption scheme,
introduced by Diffie and Hellman in 1976, where each person gets a pair of keys,
called the public key and the private key. Each person's public key is published
while the private key is kept secret. Messages are encrypted using the intended
recipient's public key and can only be decrypted using his private key. This is
often used in conjunction with a digital signature.
The need for sender and receiver to share secret information (keys) via some
secure channel is eliminated: all communications involve only public keys, and
no private key is ever transmitted or shared.
Public-key encryption can be used for authentication, confidentiality, integrity
RSA encryption is an example of a public-key cryptosystem.
See also knapsack problem.
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Public Key Infrastructure
<cryptography, communications> (PKI) A system of public key encryption
using digital certificates from Certificate Authorities and other registration
authorities that verify and authenticate the validity of each party involved in
an electronic transaction.
PKIs are currently evolving and there is no single PKI nor even a single
agreed-upon standard for setting up a PKI. However, nearly everyone agrees that
reliable PKIs are necessary before electronic commerce can become widespread.
US DOD PKI.
US NIST PKI.
IETF PKIX Working Group.
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