Browse Definitions :
Definition

initialization vector (IV)

What is an initialization vector?

An initialization vector (IV) is an arbitrary number that can be used along with a secret key for data encryption. This number, also called a nonce, is employed only one time in any session. 

The use of an IV prevents repetition in data encryption, making it more difficult for a hacker using a dictionary attack to find patterns and break a cipher. For example, a sequence might appear twice or more within the body of a message. If there are repeated sequences in encrypted data, an attacker could assume that the corresponding sequences in the message were also identical. The IV prevents the appearance of corresponding duplicate character sequences in the ciphertext

The ideal IV is a random number that is made known to the destination computer to facilitate decryption of the data when it is received. The IV can be agreed on in advance, transmitted independently or included as part of the session setup prior to exchange of the message data. The length of the IV (the number of bits or bytes it contains) depends on the method of encryption. The IV length is usually comparable to the length of the encryption key or block of the cipher in use.

Learn More About IT:
> Spiritus-Temporis.com describes how IVs work and provides links to related topics.
> Example-code.com explains 'AES Encrypt with Initialization Vector.'
> Wikipedia has an entry about initialization vectors.

This was last updated in March 2011
SearchCompliance
  • ISO 31000 Risk Management

    The ISO 31000 Risk Management framework is an international standard that provides businesses with guidelines and principles for ...

  • pure risk

    Pure risk refers to risks that are beyond human control and result in a loss or no loss with no possibility of financial gain.

  • risk reporting

    Risk reporting is a method of identifying risks tied to or potentially impacting an organization's business processes.

SearchSecurity
  • Pretty Good Privacy (PGP)

    Pretty Good Privacy or PGP was a popular program used to encrypt and decrypt email over the internet, as well as authenticate ...

  • email security

    Email security is the process of ensuring the availability, integrity and authenticity of email communications by protecting ...

  • cyberterrorism

    Cyberterrorism is often defined as any premeditated, politically motivated attack against information systems, programs and data ...

SearchHealthIT
SearchDisasterRecovery
  • What is risk mitigation?

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a business.

  • fault-tolerant

    Fault-tolerant technology is a capability of a computer system, electronic system or network to deliver uninterrupted service, ...

  • synchronous replication

    Synchronous replication is the process of copying data over a storage area network, local area network or wide area network so ...

SearchStorage
  • direct access

    In computer storage, direct access is the process of reading and writing data on a storage device by going directly to where the ...

  • kibi, mebi, gibi, tebi, pebi and exbi

    Kibi, mebi, gibi, tebi, pebi and exbi are binary prefix multipliers that, in 1998, were approved as a standard by the ...

  • holographic storage (holostorage)

    Holographic storage is computer storage that uses laser beams to store computer-generated data in three dimensions.

Close