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Encyclopedia > Known plaintext attack

The known-plaintext attack is a cryptanalytic attack in which the attacker has samples of both the plaintext and its encrypted version (ciphertext) and is at liberty to make use of them to reveal further secret information; typically this is the secret key.


At Bletchley Park in World War II, strenuous efforts were made to use, and even force the Germans to produce messages with, known plaintext. The known plaintexts were called "cribs", and schemes to force the Germans to produce them were called "gardening".


Encrypted file archives such as ZIP are also very prone to this attack. For example, an attacker with an encrypted ZIP file needs only one unencrypted file from the archive which forms the "known-plaintext". Then using some publicly available software they can instantly calculate the key required to decrypt the entire archive.


To obtain this unencrypted file the attacker could search the website for a suitable file, find it from another archive they can open, or manually try to reconstruct a plain text file armed with the knowledge of the filename from the encrypted archive.


See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Known-plaintext attack - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (204 words)
The known-plaintext attack is a cryptanalytic attack in which the attacker has samples of both the plaintext and its encrypted version (ciphertext) and is at liberty to make use of them to reveal further secret information; typically this is the secret key.
At Bletchley Park in World War II, strenuous efforts were made to use, and even force the Germans to produce messages with, known plaintext.
The known plaintexts were called "cribs", and schemes to force the Germans to produce them were called "gardening".
Known Plaintext Attack (1999 words)
Under a known plaintext attack, both the plaintext and the ciphertext are known.
The known plaintext bytes are the inputs of the update_keys function, and the derived key3's are the outputs.
In this case, 13 known plaintext bytes are required for the whole attack, and the complexity of analysis is 2^{38}.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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