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Brief Full Advanced Search Search Tips (Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.) Author(s): Bruce Schneier ISBN: 0471128457 Publication Date: 01/01/96 Search this book:
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----------- A chosen-plaintext attack can be particularly effective if there are relatively few possible encrypted messages. For example, if P were a dollar amount less than $1,000,000, this attack would work; the cryptanalyst tries all million possible dollar amounts. (Probabilistic encryption solves the problem; see Section 23.15.) Even if P is not as well-defined, this attack can be very effective. Simply knowing that a ciphertext does not correspond to a particular plaintext can be useful information. Symmetric cryptosystems are not vulnerable to this attack because a cryptanalyst cannot perform trial encryptions with an unknown key. In most practical implementations public-key cryptography is used to secure and distribute session keys; those session keys are used with symmetric algorithms to secure message traffic . This is sometimes called a hybrid cryptosystem. (1) Bob sends Alice his public key. (2) Alice generates a random session key, K, encrypts it using Bob’s public key, and sends it to Bob. EB(K) (3) Bob decrypts Alice’s message using his private key to recover the session key. DB(EB(K)) = K (4) Both of them encrypt their communications using the same session key. Using public-key cryptography for key distribution solves a very important key-management problem. With symmetric cryptography, the data encryption key sits around until it is used. If Eve ever gets her hands on it, she can decrypt messages encrypted with it. With the previous protocol, the session key i...
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