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Let me try to give the shortest possible answer "HMAC provides digital signatures by using preshared secret (a.k.a secret key or symmetric key)". Essentially, if you do not have PKI in place or don't want to deal with complexities of public/private keys, root of trust and certificate chains, you can still have reliable digital signature using preshared ...


When a Director sends an Agent with id (A) on a mission, he generates a timestamp (B) and an HMAC of A and B (C), using his secret key. He gives B, and C to the Agent. C becomes the secret key of the Agent. When an Agent sends a message, he calculates an HMAC of it (D) using C and includes it in the message. He also includes A and B. C is of course secret ...

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