Kerckhoffs' law - Computer Definition
"The security of a cryptographic system is based solely on the key," coined by Dr. Auguste Kerckhoffs (1835-1903), professor of languages at the School of Higher Commercial Studies, Paris. This principle stemmed from articles on cryptography he wrote in 1883 for the Journal of Military Sciences. It states that as long as the key is kept secret, the cryptographic algorithm can be made public without compromising the system. Contrast with security by obscurity. See laws.