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)