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The PohligHellman exponentiation cipher is a symmetrickey cipher that uses some of the same mathematical operations as the betterknown RSA and DiffieHellman publickey cryptosystems. First published in 1978, the PohligHellman cipher was never of practical importance due to its slow speed compared to ciphers such as DES and AES. The theoretical importance of the PohligHellman cipher comes from the fact that it relies on the Discrete Logarithm Problem for its resistance against known plain text attacks, as does RSA and several other modern cryptosystems. For this reason, the PohligHellman systemcan play a very important role pedagogically, since it also shares many features in common with classical ciphers such as shift ciphers and Hill ciphers. Thus, it allows the instructor to introduce the important concepts of the discrete logarithm and known plain text attacks separately from the more conceptually difficult idea of publickey cryptography.
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