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An authentication protocol where the verifier sends the claimant a challenge (usually a random value or a nonce) that the claimant combines with a shared secret (often by hashing the challenge and secret together) to generate a response that is sent to the verifier. The verifier knows the shared secret and can independently compute the response and compare it with the response generated by the claimant. If the two are the same, the claimant is considered to have successfully authenticated himself. When the shared secret is a cryptographic key, such protocols are generally secure against eavesdroppers. When the shared secret is a password, an eavesdropper does not directly intercept the password itself, but the eavesdropper may be able to find the password with an off-line password guessing attack.