The operations performed in defeating or circumventing cryptographic protection of information by applying mathematical techniques and without an initial knowledge of the key employed in providing the protection.

Extended Definition: The study of mathematical techniques for attempting to defeat or circumvent cryptographic techniques and/or information systems security.

Adapted from: CNSSI 4009, NIST SP 800-130

Source: NICCS™ Portal Cybersecurity Lexicon, National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies ( as of 11 November 2015, Global Standards

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