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The act which transforms plaintext or cleartext (i.e. the original form of normal standard data) into ciphertext (i.e. the unintelligible and seeming random form of data that is produced by the cryptographic function of encryption). Ciphertext is produced by a symmetric encryption algorithm when a data set is transformed by the encryption process using a selected key (i.e. to encrypt or encode). Ciphertext can converted back into its original form (i.e. plaintext) by performing the decryption process using the same symmetric encryption algorithm and the same key used during the encryption process (i.e. decrypt or decode).