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snake oil
Last modified: Tuesday, April 30, 2002 

Refers to a cryptography or security product that makes exaggerated claims of what the product is capable of, giving the user a false sense of security. The term snake oil, which is credited to Matt Curtin for using in reference to computer security products, comes from the 19th-century American practice of selling cure-all elixirs in traveling medicine shows. Snake oil salesmen would falsely claim that the potions would cure any ailments. The term has been appropriated to mean security and encryption products that make impossible claims, such as unbreakable codes.

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For internet.com pages about snake oil . Also check out the following links!

Related Links

Snake Oil Warning Signs: Encryption Software to Avoid  
How does a system administrator know the difference between a good cryptography product and the stuff of Cracker Jack secret decoder rings?

related categories

Encryption

Security

related terms

algorithm

cipher text

cryptography

decryption

encryption


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