Exhaustive Key Search

What do you mean by the term Exhaustive Key Search? Describe in brief.

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Exhaustive key search or brute-force search is the fundamental method of trying each and every possible key in turn till the correct key is recognized. To recognize the correct key it might be essential to possess a plaintext and its corresponding cipher text or if the plaintext consists of some recognizable characteristic, cipher text alone might suffice. The exhaustive key search can be mounted on any cipher and sometimes a weakness in the key schedule of cipher can help in enhancing the efficiency of the exhaustive key search attack.

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