Glossary of Technical Terms

Cryptography: the methods and processes used to encode and decode online messages and activity so they remain private.
Decryption: the process of reverting encrypted data back to plain text, often through the use of a key. See also ‘Encryption’ and ‘Key’.
End-to-End Encryption: an encryption process whereby the message is encrypted by the sender’s computer and can only be decrypted when it reaches the intended recipient’s computer.
Encryption: the method of mixing up plain text data so it is unreadable for third parties, without access to the key to retrieve it.
Exit Node: the final node in the Tor process, which pushes data outside of the network. See also ‘Node’.
IP Address: a unique string of numbers that is used to identify your computer while accessing a network.
Key: an algorithm that is applied to text to encrypt or decrypt the message. They vary in length, with the difficulty of decryption dependent on the length, i.e. the longer the key, the more secure it is. Often found in pairs of public and private, see also The Basics section, for further discussion of public and private keys.
Man-in-the-Middle Attack: a computer or individual who targets information that is in transit, generally with the goal of recording or altering communications.
Middle-Man-Node: simply, a Tor node that is not an exit node.
Node: the servers within the Tor network. They are responsible for receiving the data and passing it on.
Open Source: refers to software where the original coding is made freely available for modification and distribution. Particularly important with regard to secure programs, as it allows for independent review which will identify any possibility of breach.

Thumbnail Photo Source: Flickr/Kovah


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