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Blowfish is an encryption algorithm that can be used as a replacement for Data Encryption Standard or International Data Encryption Algorithm. It is a symmetric (that is, a secret or private key) block cipher that uses a variable-length key, from 32 bits to 448 bits, making it ideal for both domestic and exportable use. (The U. S. government forbids the exportation of encryption software using keys larger than 40 bits except in special cases.) Blowfish was designed in 1993 by Bruce Schneier as an alternative to existing encryption algorithms. Designed with 32-bit instruction processors in mind, it is significantly faster than DES. Since its origin, it has been analyzed considerably. Blowfish is unpatented, license-free and available free for all uses.

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This was first published in March 2001

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