Take the 2-minute tour ×
Cryptography Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for software developers, mathematicians and others interested in cryptography. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I currently have a system which uses two keys sourced from a single key subjected to HKDF. One key is used in the Salsa20 stream cipher and the other is used for a SHA-2 based HMAC.

Given that the stream cipher (Salsa20) is being used for a persistent stream lasting a long time (perhaps hours) with frequent data exchange, is key renewal required (where the key used for the cipher is renegotiated)?

Furthermore, is there a defined period of time in which this key renewal should take place? I read this question here and found that stream ciphers like RC4 and Salsa20 have a period, but is there any security vulnerability in letting their internal counters rollover?

The same questions apply for the SHA-2 HMAC: should the key for the HMAC be replaced after some period of time? Or is the act of replacing the key itself a security vulnerability.

I can provide code if that would be helpful.

share|improve this question
    
Letting the Salsa20 counter roll over would be a fatal flaw, but I doubt you'll be willing to wait for it (It'd take around 10000 years with typical computers). –  CodesInChaos Dec 13 '13 at 11:27
    
Key renewal is useful for forward secrecy or recovery from key compromise. –  CodesInChaos Dec 13 '13 at 11:31
1  
@CodesInChaos So practically there isn't much security benefit from doing key renewals disregarding forward secrecy. And with regard to forward secrecy changing the key must be done at quite a frequent interval to minimize loss should the key be compromised. Am I correct is saying the above? –  CPU Terminator Dec 13 '13 at 11:36

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.