Definitions Edit

A private key is

[t]he secret part of an asymmetric key pair that is typically used to digitally sign or decrypt data.[1]
a cryptographic key, used with a public key cryptographic algorithm, that is uniquely associated with an entity and is not made public. In an asymmetric (public) cryptosystem, the private key is associated with a public key. Depending on the algorithm, the private key may be used to —
1) Compute the corresponding public key,
2) Compute a digital signature that may be verified by the corresponding public key,
3) Decrypt data that was encrypted by the corresponding public key, or
4) Compute a piece of common shared data, together with other information.[2]

Overview Edit

For digital signatures, the private key is uniquely associated with the owner and is not made public. The private key is used to compute a digital signature that may be verified using the corresponding public key.

The integrity of even the most secure digital signature rests on the continuing confidentiality of the private key.

References Edit

  1. Glossary of Key Information Security Terms, at 146.
  2. NIST Special Publication 800-57.

Source Edit

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