Glossary

Key

11.03.08

In cryptography , a key is a piece of information (a parameter) that determines the functional output of a cryptographic algorithm or cipher . Without a key, the algorithm would have no result. In encryption , a key specifies the particular transformation of plaintext into ciphertext , or vice versa during decryption . Keys are also used in other cryptographic algorithms, such as digital signature schemes and message authentication codes.
Source: Wikipedia
URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_(cryptography)