Plaintext

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

In cryptography, plaintext is the information which the sender want to transmit to the receiver(s). Before computers, plaintext simply means text in the language of the communicating parties. Since computers, the definition has been expanded to include not only the electronic representation of text, such as emails and word processor documents, but also the computer representation of speech, music, pictures, videos, ATM and credit card transactions, sensor data, and so forth, basically any information which the communicating parties might wish to hide from others. The plaintext is the normal representation of the data before any action has been taken to hide it.

The plaintext is used as input to an encryption algorithm; the output is termed ciphertext. In some systems, however, multiple layers of encryption are used (called rounds), in which case the ciphertext output of one encryption algorithm becomes the plaintext input to the next.