Key exchange protocol

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A key exchange protocol is used in cryptography to make a shared, secret key accessible to two or more communication partners. This can be done by someone transferring a key to all partners involved or by generating a new key while the protocol is being carried out. The key exchange protocol defines the exact procedure. The key is then used to encrypt and decrypt messages using symmetric encryption methods .

Key exchange protocols to solve the so-called key distribution problem , which consists in making a shared secret key accessible to the communication partners.

Originally the only way to solve the key distribution problem was to exchange a key in person or sealed by a messenger. With the advent of communication networks, protocols were developed to exchange or negotiate a session key between two parties on a public path.

Well-known protocols are