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cryptography

Definition from Dictionary, a free dictionary
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English

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Pronunciation

  • /krĭptŏgʹrəfē/
  • [kɹ̥ɪpˈtʰɒgɹəfiː]
    Rhymes: -ɒgrəfiː

Etymology

From the Greek words kryptós (hidden) and gráphein (to write)

Noun

Singular
cryptography

Plural
-

cryptography (-)
  1. The discipline concerned with communication security (eg, confidentiality of messages, integrity of messages, sender authentication, non-repudiation of messages, and many other related issues).
    • 1658:, Sir Thomas Browne (first use in English),
      We might abate...the strange cryptography of Gaffarell in his Starrie Booke of Heaven.

Usage notes

Cryptography is not limited to pencil and paper, nor to computing, but to the general field and possible solutions to such issues. Subfields include encoding, decoding, cryptanalysis, codes, ciphers, etc.

In many languages, though less so in English, cognates to "cryptology" are also used with the meaning given above, and even preferred. Cryptography is very closely connected with information theory as the only adequate theory for it is based on work done in that field, beginning around WWII at Bell Laboratories. Cryptography is also somewhat related to steganography which is concerned with concealing the very existence of a message. Contrast this with cryptography's indifference, from a confidentiality viewpoint, to whether a message is copied by some attacker.

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