Question 55. What is an Iterated Block Cipher?

An iterated block cipher is one that encrypts a plaintext block by a process that has several rounds. In each round, the same transformation or round function is applied to the data using a subkey. The set of subkeys are usually derived from the user-provided secret key by a key schedule.

The number of rounds in an iterated cipher depends on the desired security level and the consequent trade-off with performance. In most cases, an increased number of rounds will improve the security offered by a block cipher, but for some ciphers the number of rounds required to achieve adequate security will be too large for the cipher to be practical or desirable.