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Privacy Defended: Protecting Yourself Online by Chris Weber, William Chan, Gary Bahadur

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Encryption Algorithms

Encryption algorithms, or ciphers, are core components of any cryptosystem. These are the mathematical functions that combine plain text and a secret key to produce cipher text.

This section describes some of the common encryption algorithms publicly in use today. Keep in mind that this is not a complete list, but rather a sampling of some popular ciphers. Recall the two different encryption systems: symmetric and public key (or asymmetric). Each uses a different set of algorithms to do its job.

Symmetric key encryption algorithms can operate in one of two modes: block ciphers and stream ciphers. Block ciphers apply encryption to a certain block of data, measured in bits. For example, a typical block cipher like Digital ...

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