traditional names for roles in cryptography

In the field of cryptography, protocols are described and analysed to allow a number of parties to achieve certain goals like communication, authentication, voting etc. Initially these protocol descriptions used single letter variables in the style “Let A and B be parties trying to communicate with the help of a mutually trusted entity C.”. This gave rise to a lot of repetition so a sort of pseudo-standard has arisen that uses first names for some of the standard roles. Common are Alice and Bob as the first two parties in a protocol. If more parties are needed, the following ones are Carol and Dave. Eve is a passive attacker, an eavesdropper. Mallory is an active attacker. Trent is a trusted third party like a mutually known key server. In the field of prove carrying code, there’s Peggy the prover and Victor the verifier. The list at wikipedia ( contains even more elements from this bestiary.

Title traditional names for roles in cryptography
Canonical name TraditionalNamesForRolesInCryptography
Date of creation 2013-03-22 15:13:41
Last modified on 2013-03-22 15:13:41
Owner lieven (1075)
Last modified by lieven (1075)
Numerical id 6
Author lieven (1075)
Entry type Definition
Classification msc 94A60