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EC-COUNCIL 212-81 Exam Syllabus Topics:

Topic 1
  • Symmetric Cryptography & Hashes
  • Single Substitution Weaknesses
Topic 2
  • Number Theory and Asymmetric Cryptography
  • Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)
Topic 3
  • Propagating Cipher-Block Chaining (PCBC)
  • Naor-Reingold and Mersenne Twister Pseudorandom Function
Topic 4
  • Shiva Password Authentication Protocol (S-PAP)
  • Challenge-Handshake Authentication Protocol (CHAP)
Topic 5
  • Symmetric Block Cipher Algorithms
  • Basic Facts of the Feistel Function
Topic 6
  • Cracking Modern Cryptography: Ciphertext-only and Related-key Attack
  • Cracking Modern Cryptography: Chosen Plaintext Attack
Topic 7
  • Steganography Implementations
  • Example of Symmetric Stream Ciphers: RC4
Topic 8
  • International Data Encryption Algorithm (IDEA)
  • History of Cryptography
Topic 9
  • Cracking Modern Cryptography
  • Example of Symmetric Stream Ciphers: PIKE
Topic 10
  • Server-based Certificate Validation Protocol
  • Classification of Random Number Generator
Topic 11
  • Introduction and History of Cryptography
  • Breaking the Vigenère Cipher
Topic 12
  • Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP)
  • National Security Agency and Cryptography
Topic 13
  • Birthday Paradox: Probability
  • Mono-Alphabet Substitution

EC-COUNCIL Certified Encryption Specialist Sample Questions (Q170-Q175):


If Bob is using asymmetric cryptography and wants to send a message to Alice so that only she can decrypt it, what key should he use to encrypt the message?

  • A. Bob's private key
  • B. Bob's public key
  • C. Alice's public key
  • D. Alice's private key

Answer: C


Alice's public key

In asymmetric (public key) cryptography, both communicating parties (i.e. both Alice and Bob) have two keys of their own - just to be clear, that's four keys total. Each party has their own public key, which they share with the world, and their own private key which they ... well, which they keep private, of course but, more than that, which they keep as a closely guarded secret. The magic of public key cryptography is that a message encrypted with the public key can only be decrypted with the private key. Alice will encrypt her message with Bob's public key, and even though Eve knows she used Bob's public key, and even though Eve knows Bob's public key herself, she is unable to decrypt the message. Only Bob, using his secret key, can decrypt the message ... assuming he's kept it secret, of course.


Which of the following was a multi alphabet cipher widely used from the 16th century to the early 20th century?

  • A. Vigenere
  • B. Scytale
  • C. Atbash
  • D. Caesar

Answer: A



The Vigenere cipher is a method of encrypting alphabetic text by using a series of interwoven Caesar ciphers, based on the letters of a keyword. It employs a form of polyalphabetic substitution.

First described by Giovan Battista Bellaso in 1553, the cipher is easy to understand and implement, but it resisted all attempts to break it until 1863, three centuries later. This earned it the description le chiffre indechiffrable (French for 'the indecipherable cipher'). Many people have tried to implement encryption schemes that are essentially Vigenere ciphers. In 1863, Friedrich Kasiski was the first to publish a general method of deciphering Vigenere ciphers.

Incorrect answers:

Caesar - Monoalphabetic cipher where letters are shifted one or more letters in either direction. The method is named after Julius Caesar, who used it in his private correspondence.

Atbash - Single substitution monoalphabetic cipher that substitutes each letter with its reverse (a and z, b and y, etc).

Scytale - Transposition cipher. A staff with papyrus or letter wrapped around it so edges would line up. There would be a stream of characters which would show you your message. When unwound it would be a random string of characters. Would need an identical size staff on other end for other individuals to decode message.


What is the name of the attack where the attacker obtains the ciphertexts corresponding to a set of plaintexts of his own choosing?

  • A. Known-plaintext attack
  • B. Differential cryptanalysis
  • C. Chosen plaintext
  • D. Kasiski examination

Answer: C


Chosen plaintext

A chosen-plaintext attack (CPA) is an attack model for cryptanalysis which presumes that the attacker can obtain the ciphertexts for arbitrary plaintexts. The goal of the attack is to gain information that reduces the security of the encryption scheme.

Incorrect answers:

Differential cryptanalysis - is a general form of cryptanalysis applicable primarily to block ciphers, but also to stream ciphers and cryptographic hash functions. In the broadest sense, it is the study of how differences in information input can affect the resultant difference at the output. In the case of a block cipher, it refers to a set of techniques for tracing differences through the network of transformation, discovering where the cipher exhibits non-random behavior, and exploiting such properties to recover the secret key (cryptography key).

Known-plaintext attack - (KPA) is an attack model for cryptanalysis where the attacker has access to both the plaintext (called a crib), and its encrypted version (ciphertext). These can be used to reveal further secret information such as secret keys and code books.

Kasiski examination - (also referred to as Kasiski's test or Kasiski's method) is a method of attacking polyalphabetic substitution ciphers, such as the Vigenere cipher. It was first published by Friedrich Kasiski in 1863, but seems to have been independently discovered by Charles Babbage as early as 1846. In polyalphabetic substitution ciphers where the substitution alphabets are chosen by the use of a keyword, the Kasiski examination allows a cryptanalyst to deduce the length of the keyword. Once the length of the keyword is discovered, the cryptanalyst lines up the ciphertext in n columns, where n is the length of the keyword. Then each column can be treated as the ciphertext of a monoalphabetic substitution cipher. As such, each column can be attacked with frequency analysis.


Which one of the following is an example of a symmetric key algorithm?

  • A. ECC
  • B. Diffie-Hellman
  • C. RSA
  • D. Rijndael

Answer: D



The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), also known by its original name Rijndael. The algorithm described by AES is a symmetric-key algorithm, meaning the same key is used for both encrypting and decrypting the data.

Incorrect answers:

ECC - Elliptic-curve cryptography is an approach to public-key cryptography based on the algebraic structure of elliptic curves over finite fields. ECC allows smaller keys compared to non-EC cryptography (based on plain Galois fields) to provide equivalent security.

Diffie-Hellman - key exchange is a method of securely exchanging cryptographic keys over a public channel and was one of the first public-key protocols as conceived by Ralph Merkle and named after Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman.

RSA - Rivest-Shamir-Adleman is a public-key cryptosystem that is widely used for secure data transmission. It is also one of the oldest. The acronym RSA comes from the surnames of Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Leonard Adleman, who publicly described the algorithm in 1977.


The art and science of writing hidden messages so that no one suspects the existence of the message, a type of security through obscurity. Message can be hidden in picture or audio file for example. Uses least significant bits in a file to store data.

  • A. Steganography
  • B. Key Schedule
  • C. Cryptosystem
  • D. Avalanche effect

Answer: A



Steganography is the practice of concealing a file, message, image, or video within another file, message, image, or video.

The first recorded use of the term was in 1499 by Johannes Trithemius in his Steganographia, a treatise on cryptography and steganography, disguised as a book on magic. Generally, the hidden messages appear to be (or to be part of) something else: images, articles, shopping lists, or some other cover text. For example, the hidden message may be in invisible ink between the visible lines of a private letter. Some implementations of steganography that lack a shared secret are forms of security through obscurity, and key-dependent steganographic schemes adhere to Kerckhoffs's principle.

Incorrect answers:

Avalanche effect - the desirable property of cryptographic algorithms, typically block ciphers and cryptographic hash functions, wherein if an input is changed slightly (for example, flipping a single bit), the output changes significantly (e.g., half the output bits flip). In the case of high-quality block ciphers, such a small change in either the key or the plaintext should cause a drastic change in the ciphertext.

Cryptosystem - a suite of cryptographic algorithms needed to implement a particular security service, most commonly for achieving confidentiality (encryption) Key Schedule - an algorithm for the key that calculates the subkeys for each round that the encryption goes through.



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