One-time pad/Talk

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I just discovered that both One-time pad and One time pads exist. I didn't write either page. I'm redirecting the latter to the former rather than the reverse because:

  • The general Wikipedia standard is to use singular names rather than plural.
  • One-time pad has all the info that was in One time pads.
  • One-time pad also has some additional info.
  • As far as I can see, both articles were equally well written.

In case this bothers anyone, I'm including the original article below, for possible merging or resurrection. -LC


A one-time pad is a provably unbreakable encryption method (given certain assumptions) that is often employed by the military and well-organised espionage efforts. One time pads are conceptually very simple--both the sender and the receiver of the data have identical "pads", which are simply a lists of numbers. When a message is sent, the first character in the message en encypted with the first character on the pad, the second character with the second, and so on for the length of the message. The encryption method can be as simple as addition (modulo the number of possible characters in the language being communicated in), or more complex. The receiver simply uses his identical pad to decode the message; then both discard their pads, after only using them once (hence the name).

It is impossible to break the encryption as long as (1) the numbers on the pad are truly random, (2) the pads remain secure, (3) the pad is only used once, and (4) the pad is at least as long as the message. One time pads require the pads to be created and exchanged in a secure channel before the secure communications using them can commence. As such, it is an unsuitable encryption method for networks such as the Internet which must resort to Public Key Encryption.