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A compromise is an agreement (or proposed agreement) to accept a situation in which the parties get less than they really want, in the case that the original wishes are not compatible.

In the security field, the term compromise has the following meanings:

  1. The known or suspected exposure of clandestine personnel, installations, or other assets or of classified information or material, to an unauthorized person.
  2. The disclosure of cryptographic information to unauthorized persons.
  3. The recovery of plain text of encrypted messages by unauthorized persons through cryptanalysis methods.
  4. The disclosure of information or data to unauthorized persons, or a violation of the security policy of a system in which unauthorized intentional or unintentional disclosure, modification, destruction, or loss of an object may have occurred.

Source: from Federal Standard 1037C and from the National Information Systems Security Glossary and from the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms