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GLOSSARY

Cryptographic Algorithm

A cryptographic algorithm is the means of altering data from a readable form to a protected form and back to the readable form.

A cryptographic algorithm is the means of altering data from a readable form to a protected form and back to the readable form. Cryptographic algorithms are also known as ciphers. The Roman Empire first used cryptography using a non-complex letter substitution cipher to transmit sensitive messages. Today’s cryptographic algorithms are used for essential tasks such as data encryption, authentication, and digital signatures. According to NIST, cryptographic services must use either FIPS-approved or NIST-recommended cryptographic algorithms. FIPS-approved and NIST-recommended cryptographic algorithms undergo extensive security analysis and are continually tested to ensure that they provide adequate security. Cryptographic algorithms usually use cryptographic keys, and the algorithms can be strengthened as needed by using larger keys. There are three NIST-approved cryptographic algorithm classes: hash function, symmetric-key, and asymmetric-key.

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