Key Escrow

What Does Key Escrow Mean?

Key escrow is a cryptographic key exchange process in which a key is held in escrow, or stored, by a third party. A key that is lost or compromised by its original user(s) may be used to decrypt encrypted material, allowing restoration of the original material to its unencrypted state.


Techopedia Explains Key Escrow

Key escrow systems provide a backup source for cryptographic keys. Escrow systems are somewhat risky because a third party is involved.

The Clipper Chip was a U.S. government encryption chipset introduced in 1993. The chipset was promoted as an encryption device with a government-held (escrow) master key to facilitate encryption in the face of security threats. The controversial Clipper Chip was defunct by 1996, but the concept evolved into the Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) encryption tool, which is used worldwide.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…