In computing, a cryptographic accelerator is a form of co-processor that performs computationally intensive encoding and decoding of information while freeing the host CPU to perform other tasks. In situations where a large proportion of the system load is either encryption or decryption of data, overall system performance can be improved by the use of such hardware, which is typically available as an expansion card on the system motherboard.
Operating system support
Several operating systems provide some support for cryptographic hardware. The BSD family of systems has the OpenBSD Cryptographic Framework (OCF), Linux systems have the Crypto API, Solaris OS has the Solaris Cryptographic Framework (SCF) and Microsoft Windows has the Microsoft CryptoAPI.
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