Plaintext

In cryptography, plaintext is information a sender wishes to transmit to a receiver. Cleartext is often used as a synonym. Before the computer era, plaintext most commonly meant message text in the language of the communicating parties. Plaintext has reference to the operation of cryptographic algorithms, usually encryption algorithms, and is the input upon which they operate. Cleartext, by contrast, refers to data that is transmitted or stored unencrypted (that is, 'in the clear').

Since computers became commonly available, the definition has also encompassed not only electronic representations of the traditional text, for instance, messages (e.g., email) and document content (e.g., word processor files), but also the computer representations of sound (e.g., speech or music), images (e.g., photos or videos), ATM and credit card transaction information, sensor data, and so forth. Few of these are directly meaningful to humans, being already transformed into computer manipulable forms. Basically, any information which the communicating parties wish to conceal from others can now be treated, and referred to, as plaintext. Thus, in a significant sense, plaintext is the 'normal' representation of data before any action has been taken to conceal, compress, or 'digest' it. It need not represent text, and even if it does, the text may not be "plain".

Plaintext is used as input to an encryption algorithm; the output is usually termed ciphertext particularly when the algorithm is a cipher. Codetext is less often used, and almost always only when the algorithm involved is actually a code. In some systems, however, multiple layers of encryption are used, in which case the output of one encryption algorithm becomes plaintext input for the next.

Read more about Plaintext:  Secure Handling of Plaintext

Other articles related to "plaintext, plaintexts":

Secure Handling of Plaintext
... In a cryptosystem, weaknesses can be introduced through insecure handling of plaintext, allowing an attacker to bypass the cryptography altogether ... Plaintext is vulnerable in use and in storage, whether in electronic or paper format ... burn or thoroughly crosscut shred discarded printed plaintexts or storage media NSA is infamous for its disposal security precautions ...
Completeness (cryptography)
... property to have in an encryption cipher, so that if one bit of the input (plaintext) is changed, every bit of the output (ciphertext) has an average of 50% probability of changing ... way to show why this is good is the following consider that if we changed our 8-byte plaintext's last byte, it would only have any effect on the 8th byte of the ciphertext ... This would mean that if the attacker guessed 256 different plaintext-ciphertext pairs, he would always know the last byte of every 8byte sequence we send (effectively 12.5% of ...
Cryptanalysis Of The Enigma - The Enigma Machines
... the same letter appearing in the same place in both the ciphertext and the putative piece of plaintext ... Comparing the possible plaintext Keine besonderen Ereignisse (literally, "no special occurrences"—perhaps better translated as "nothing to report"), with a section of ciphertext, might produce the ...
KFB Mode - Error Properties
... As the keystream is independent of plaintext and ciphertext, KFB mode turns a block cipher into a synchronous stream cipher ... a bit in the ciphertext produces a flipped bit in the plaintext at the same location, but does not affect further parts of the plaintext ...
Attack Model
... a sending party uses a cipher to encrypt (transform) a secret plaintext into a ciphertext, which is sent over an insecure communication channel to the receiving party ... his secret knowledge of the cipher to decrypt the ciphertext to obtain the plaintext ... party cryptanalyst analyzes the ciphertext to try to "break" the cipher, to read the plaintext and obtain the key so that future enciphered messages can be read ...