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For those of you who don't know what the acronyms stand for, I've compiled a list, in order by their appearance:

  AES   - Advanced Encryption Standard
  CBC   - Cipher Block Chaining
  PKCS  - Public Key Cryptography Standards
  SHA   - Secure Hashing Algorithm
  MAC   - Message Authentication Code
  PBKDF - Password-Based Key Derivation Function
  NIST  - National Institute of Standards and Technology
  FIPS  - Federal Information Processing Standard
  KDF   - Key derivation function
  CTR   - Counter Mode
  RSA   - Rivest Shamir Adleman (last names of each creator of the RSA algorithm)
  OAEP  - Optimal Asymmetric Encryption Padding
  PSS   - Probabilistic Signature Scheme
  ECDSA - Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm
  PS3   - Playstation 3?
  DH    - Diffie-Hellman key exchange
  ECDH  - Elliptic curve Diffie-Hellman key exchange
  TLS   - Transport Layer Security



Welcome to HN. I see that you are new here so I would like to give you a little friendly advice. If you have to make a long list like this on HN use the pre/code formatting (two spaces at begining of line). Long lists like this take up a ton of space. I have a sneaking suspicion this is the a deliberate design choice so that people link to reference resources and use the comments for discussion. Compare:

AES - Advanced Encryption Standard

CBC - Cipher Block Chaining

PKCS - Public Key Cryptography Standards

SHA - Secure Hashing Algorithm

MAC - Message Authentication Code

PBKDF - Password-Based Key Derivation Function

  AES - Advanced Encryption Standard
  CBC - Cipher Block Chaining
  PKCS - Public Key Cryptography Standards
  SHA - Secure Hashing Algorithm
  MAC - Message Authentication Code
  PBKDF - Password-Based Key Derivation Function


You. I like you. Thank you! I've updated the list. I didn't see anything on the posting help page about putting two spaces in front to make it pre/code formatting. (Or maybe there was a second page I didn't look over.)

Edit: I just double-checked the help page and saw the note about code formatting. My apologies for overlooking that!


The one problem with doing this is that it causes people reading HN on an iPhone to have to scroll from side to side for every line of text, since preformatted text doesn't word-wrap on small screens.


Nice that you composed this list but quite honestly, it isn't very helpful to know what the letters in the acronyms stand for without knowing what these things actually are.

Take AES for example, "Advanced Encryption Standard" doesn't really mean anything. AES is a block cipher, also known as Rijndael. CTR and CBC are block cipher modes. RSA is a public key cryptosystem, etc. The same applies for most of these things in the list.

So if someone doesn't know what these things stand for, they're going to have to go to Wikipedia to check it out anyway, the words behind the acronym are almost as confusing as the acronyms themselves.


"Message Authentication Code" is a lot easier to google for than MAC, and more meaningful in itself too. I found the list helpful.


Yeah, but searching for the actual word is much easier than searching the acronym. Take MAC for example (tried out with german google, so your experience may vary).

I get a cosmetics site, apple.com and store.apple.com, wikipedia article about the mac adress and a clothing site. Message Authentication Code is nowhere to be found.

Yes, I took one of the harder ones, AES is on the first position, but still it is nice to know the words behind an acronym.


I think the list was helpful as well. I know quite a few of those acronyms and what hey mean, but a few I did not know.


I usually make it a habit to spell out abbreviation the first time I use them and include the abbreviation in parentheses, like Transport Layer Security (TLS). Later, after the first introduction I can safely assume people know it, like TLS.

Even for technical documents, if you expect your target audience to be familiar with the domain, nobody remembers every abbreviation every time. It also helps new readers to quickly familiarize themselves with the material (and might even help a few understand more than they would have done without expanded abbreviations).


What I have trouble with is the spelled out versions. Every time I see some stupid newspaper article that says "HyperText Markup Language" or whatever, it takes my brain two or three seconds to process it and go "oh, duh, HTML".


This hardly makes any sense:

  - for the readers who already know the abbreviation, it's a waste of space and time
  - for readers who don't, the words won't tell them much either - Transport Layer Security tells you about nothing about what TLS really is - besides, for those who are really interested, they can always look it up on Wikipedia (that way, they will actually understand it).


> Transport Layer Security tells you about nothing about what TLS really is

Doesn't it? Even a complete tech-illiterate can glean some meaning from the word "security".


And "Transport Layer" should ring a bell to anyone familiar with the OSI model (for example, a student that has taken an introductory course on network protocols).


And yet in every scientific paper I have read they still spell out the abbreviations the first time. And these are written by experts in the field. Why? Because it removes ambiguity and makes it completely clear what you are talking about. What if in 20-30 years the acronyms change or fall out of favour? It happens all the time.


As mentioned earlier in this thread, eople who don't know now have some keywords to google with.


PS3 is correct. That was a particularly amusing episode, well worth looking up the full story.





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