In cryptography, the avalanche effect is the desirable property of cryptographic algorithms, typically block ciphers and cryptographic hash functions, wherein if an input is changed slightly, the output changes significantly. In the case of high-quality block ciphers, such a small change in either the key or the plaintext should cause a drastic change in the ciphertext. The actual term was first used by Horst Feistel, although the concept dates back to at least Shannon's diffusion.
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