ATIS Telecom Glossary
Thursday, July 24, 2014

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one-time pad
1.  [A] manual one-time cryptosystem produced in pad form. [INFOSEC-99]   2.  The one time pad is the ONLY encryption scheme that can be proven to be absolutely unbreakable! It is used extensively by spies because it doesn't require any hardware to implement and because of its absolute security. This algorithm requires the generation of many sets of matching encryption keys pads. Each pad consists of a number of random key characters. These key characters are chosen completely at random using some truly random process. They are NOT generated by any kind of cryptographic key generator. Each party involved receives matching sets of pads. Each key character in the pad is used to encrypt one and only one plain text character, then the key character is never used again. Any violation of these conditions negates the perfect security available in the one time pad.  So why don't we use the one time pad all the time? The answer is that the number of random key pads that need to be generated must be at least equal to the volume of plain text messages to be encrypted, and the fact that these key pads must somehow be exchanged ahead of time. This becomes totally impractical in modern high speed communications systems. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 
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