Cipher: Used to refer to the actual method of cryptography used to encrypt or decrypt data. Information that has been encrypted through a cipher is called “cipher text” or “ciphertext”, referencing to this word. This is not a type of cryptography on its own, meaning without context this word doesn’t specify a method.
Cipher Text/Ciphertext: Information that has been encrypted, only comprehensible to people who know how to decrypt it.
Classical Computers: Every day computers that do not make use of quantum mechanics. These are the computers you see 99% of the time in the modern day, from personal computers, to laptops, to phones.
Computational Speed: The speed at which a computer can do its most basic operations, such as addition or subtraction. A higher computational speed generally means the computer will work faster across all jobs you give it.
Cryptography: The science and math behind any method or formula that is used to encrypt information. When referring to cryptography, it’s implied that encryption is a part of the discussion.
Decryption: The act of using cryptography in order to turn ciphertext to plaintext. The opposite of encryption.
Encryption: The act of using cryptography in order to turn plaintext into ciphertext. The opposite of decryption.
Key: A piece of data that is used in some cryptography methods as a way to ensure data is only seen by the right people, just like a literal key. This key’s value is nearly impossible for classical computers to guess, but is possible for quantum computers to guess.
Plain Text/Plaintext: Information in its default state, comprehensible to anybody who has access to it.
Quantum Computers: Computers that use quantum mechanics in order to enhance various aspects of themselves. The primary advantage that was focused on is their increased computational speed, allowing them to work faster than classical computers.
RSA (Rivest, Shamir, and Adleman) Public Key Encryption: A cipher that uses keys to keep data secure as it’s passed between 2 parties that do not have access to each other’s keys. This means data must be passed multiple times between the 2 parties, locking and unlocking them in a way that leaves the receiving party with only their own lock on the information in the end.