A<- index ->C

B. Glossary

application protocol
An application protocol is a protocol that normally layers directly on top of the transport layer (e.g., TCP/IP). Examples include HTTP, TELNET, FTP, and SMTP.
asymmetric cipher
See public key cryptography.
Authentication is the ability of one entity to determine the identity of another entity.
block cipher
A block cipher is an algorithm that operates on plaintext in groups of bits, called blocks. 64 bits is a common block size.
bulk cipher
A symmetric encryption algorithm used to encrypt large quantities of data.
cipher block chaining (CBC)
CBC is a mode in which every plaintext block encrypted with a block cipher is first exclusive-ORed with the previous ciphertext block (or, in the case of the first block, with the initialization vector). For decryption, every block is first decrypted, then exclusive-ORed with the previous ciphertext block (or IV).
As part of the X.509 protocol (a.k.a. ISO Authentication framework), certificates are assigned by a trusted Certificate Authority and provide a strong binding between a party's identity or some other attributes and its public key.
The application entity that initiates a TLS connection to a server. This may or may not imply that the client initiated the underlying transport connection. The primary operational difference between the server and client is that the server is generally authenticated, while the client is only optionally authenticated.
client write key
The key used to encrypt data written by the client.
client write MAC secret
The secret data used to authenticate data written by the client.
A connection is a transport (in the OSI layering model definition) that provides a suitable type of service. For TLS, such connections are peer to peer relationships. The connections are transient. Every connection is associated with one session.
Data Encryption Standard
DES is a very widely used symmetric encryption algorithm. DES is a block cipher with a 56 bit key and an 8 byte block size. Note that in TLS, for key generation purposes, DES is treated as having an 8 byte key length (64 bits), but it still only provides 56 bits of protection. (The low bit of each key byte is presumed to be set to produce odd parity in that key byte.) DES can also be operated in a mode where three independent keys and three encryptions are used for each block of data; this uses 168 bits of key (24 bytes in the TLS key generation method) and provides the equivalent of 112 bits of security. [DES], [3DES]
Digital Signature Standard (DSS)
A standard for digital signing, including the Digital Signing Algorithm, approved by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, defined in NIST FIPS PUB 186, "Digital Signature Standard," published May, 1994 by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce. [DSS]
digital signatures
Digital signatures utilize public key cryptography and one-way hash functions to produce a signature of the data that can be authenticated, and is difficult to forge or repudiate.
An initial negotiation between client and server that establishes the parameters of their transactions.
Initialization Vector (IV)
When a block cipher is used in CBC mode, the initialization vector is exclusive-ORed with the first plaintext block prior to encryption.
A 64-bit block cipher designed by Xuejia Lai and James Massey. [IDEA]
Message Authentication Code (MAC)
A Message Authentication Code is a one-way hash computed from a message and some secret data. It is difficult to forge without knowing the secret data. Its purpose is to detect if the message has been altered.
master secret
Secure secret data used for generating encryption keys, MAC secrets, and IVs.
MD5 is a secure hashing function that converts an arbitrarily long data stream into a digest of fixed size (16 bytes). [MD5]
public key cryptography
A class of cryptographic techniques employing two-key ciphers. Messages encrypted with the public key can only be decrypted with the associated private key. Conversely, messages signed with the private key can be verified with the public key.
one-way hash function
A one-way transformation that converts an arbitrary amount of data into a fixed-length hash. It is computationally hard to reverse the transformation or to find collisions. MD5 and SHA are examples of one-way hash functions.
A block cipher developed by Ron Rivest at RSA Data Security, Inc. [RSADSI] described in [RC2].
A stream cipher licensed by RSA Data Security [RSADSI]. A compatible cipher is described in [RC4].
A very widely used public-key algorithm that can be used for either encryption or digital signing. [RSA]
Non-secret random data used to make export encryption keys resist precomputation attacks.
The server is the application entity that responds to requests for connections from clients. See also under client.
A TLS session is an association between a client and a server. Sessions are created by the handshake protocol. Sessions define a set of cryptographic security parameters, which can be shared among multiple connections. Sessions are used to avoid the expensive negotiation of new security parameters for each connection.
session identifier
A session identifier is a value generated by a server that identifies a particular session.
server write key
The key used to encrypt data written by the server.
server write MAC secret
The secret data used to authenticate data written by the server.
The Secure Hash Algorithm is defined in FIPS PUB 180-1. It produces a 20-byte output. Note that all references to SHA actually use the modified SHA-1 algorithm. [SHA]
Netscape's Secure Socket Layer protocol [SSL3]. TLS is based on SSL Version 3.0
stream cipher
An encryption algorithm that converts a key into a cryptographically-strong keystream, which is then exclusive-ORed with the plaintext.
symmetric cipher
See bulk cipher.
Transport Layer Security (TLS)
This protocol; also, the Transport Layer Security working group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). See "Comments" at the end of this document.