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Encryption Systems

Most encryption systems consist of a lock and key. The lock is the encryption of your files, or data in transit, and the key is some password, ID, or certificate that only you possess. The security of the key is important and typically is left up to you, the user, to protect.

That brings us to the question of what makes encryption strong. It might seem that the algorithm or cipher determines the strength of the encryption system. This is partially true because a good algorithm is important. However, the strength of the encryption system should not depend on the secrecy of its algorithm. In fact, a strong algorithm is typically one that is widely known, and has been widely studied and attacked by knowledgeable cryptanalysts. In other words, no problems should exist with making an encryption algorithm public. In fact, it is considered good practice when developers release their encryption algorithms for public scrutiny. This shows that they are willing to accept any criticism to make their algorithm stronger.


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