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public key cryptography

The type of cryptography in which the encryption process is publicly available and unprotected, but in which a part of the decryption key is protected so that only a party with knowledge of both parts of the decryption process can decrypt the cipher text. Note: Commonly called nonsecret encryption in professional cryptologic circles. FIREFLY is an application of public key cryptography. [NIS] 2. [An] Encryption system using a linked pair of keys. What one pair of keys encrypts, the other pair decrypts. [INFOSEC99] 

