A block cipher is an encryption algorithm which encrypts fixed-size blocks of plaintext to same-sized blocks of ciphertext. For good ciphers every bit of the ciphertext block depends on every bit of the plaintext block and every bit of the key.

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What are the practical differences between 256-bit, 192-bit, and 128-bit AES encryption?

AES has several different variants: AES-128 AES-192 AES-256 But why would someone prefer use one over another?
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What are the benefits of the two permutation tables in DES?

Why do we use a permutation table in the first step of DES algorithm and one at the end of algorithm?
27
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5answers
3k views

How can we reason about the cryptographic capabilities of code-breaking agencies like the NSA or GCHQ?

I have read in Applied Cryptography that the NSA is the largest hardware buyer and the largest mathematician employer in the world. How can we reason about the symmetric ciphers cryptanalysis ...
26
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4answers
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Should I use ECB or CBC encryption mode for my block cipher?

Can someone tell me which mode out of ECB and CBC is better, and how to decide which mode to use? Are there any other modes which are better?
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2answers
1k views

How do I apply differential cryptanalysis to a block cipher?

I've read a lot of summaries of block ciphers particularly with regards to the NIST competitions stating that reduced-round block ciphers are, for example, vulnerable to differential cryptanalysis. I ...
19
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2answers
4k views

Why does nobody use (or break) the Camellia Cipher?

If Camellia is of equivalent security and speed to AES, concerns arise. First of all, assuming the above, why is Camellia so rarely used in practice? Why aren't there any breaks in Camellia? Does ...
16
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2answers
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Why use an Initialization Vector (IV)?

Why use an Initialization Vector (IV)? How are IV's used? What are the advantages/disadvantages of using an IV? Why use an IV instead of a longer key in which some section of the key is pubic? What ...
16
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1answer
8k views

What is the difference between PKCS#5 padding and PKCS#7 padding

One runtime platform provides an API that supplies PKCS#5 padding for block cipher modes such as ECB and CBC. These modes have been defined for the triple DES, AES and Blowfish block ciphers. The ...
14
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4answers
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Why is AES resistant to known-plaintext attacks?

At least it's my understanding that AES isn't affected by known-plaintext. Is it immune to such an attack, or just resistant? Does this vary for chosen-plaintext?
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2answers
7k views

How long does it take to crack DES and AES?

Suppose that a single evaluation of a block-cipher (DES or AES) takes 10 operations, and the computer can do $10^{15}$ such operations per second. How long would it take for to recover a DES key, ...
14
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3answers
842 views

Is CBC really dead?

I developed a p2p-app in C# which sends and receives encrypted text messages (50KB). For encryption, my app uses AES 128 bit in CBC cipher mode. For each message it uses a new randomly-generated IV. ...
13
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1answer
874 views

Why choose an authenticated encryption mode instead of a separate MAC?

What are cryptographic reasons to choose an authenticated-encryption mode of operation (such as GCM) over a traditional encryption mode plus an independent MAC, or vice versa? Assume there is no ...
12
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3answers
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Can you create a strong blockcipher with small blocksize, given a strong blockcipher of conventional blocksize?

Suppose I want a strong 20-bit blockcipher. In other words, I want a function that takes a key (suppose the key is 128 bits), and implements a permutation from 20 bits to 20 bits. The set of ...
12
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2answers
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Why is MixColumns omitted from the last round of AES?

All rounds of AES (and Rijndael) have a MixColumns step, save the last round which omits it. DES has a similar feature where the last round differs slightly. The rationale, if I recall correctly, ...
12
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3answers
949 views

What is the ideal cipher model?

What is the ideal cipher model? What assumptions does it make about a block cipher? How does it relate to assuming that my block cipher is a pseudo-random permutation (PRP)? When is the ideal ...
12
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2answers
6k views

AES in ECB mode weakness

In a project that I'm currently working on, we are encrypting some data using AES with ECB mode in a database. Each piece of data being encrypted is very small, no more than 10 characters long. Very ...
11
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1answer
6k views

How to choose a padding mode with AES

Depending on the framework you are using, there are various padding modes that can be used with AES encryption. For example, with .NET we can choose PKCS7, ISO10126, ANSIX923, Zeros or None. I ...
10
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5answers
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Using CBC with a fixed IV and a random first plaintext block

What if, instead of using CBC mode in the normal way with a random IV, I used this approach: Use a fixed IV (like a block of 0's). Before encrypting, generate a random block and prepend it to the ...
10
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3answers
460 views

Are these emerging threats against AES affecting your designs?

Recentally, an attack on AES was discovered which reduces its computationally complexity, by a very slight amount. The first key recovery attack on the full AES-128 with computational complexity ...
10
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1answer
415 views

Hash function from narrower block cipher operated in CBC-encryption mode?

I am trying to build a public hash function (thus collision-resistant and preimage-resistant, and more generally behaving like a random oracle), with input a message $M$ of fixed size $|M|=m\cdot b$ ...
9
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1answer
3k views

Difference between Rijndael 128 / 256 blocksize implementations? (and impact of block size in general)

Can anyone shed some light onto the advantages/disadvantages of using Rijndael with 256-bit block size, as opposed to the 128-bit (AES) implementation? (please note: I'm not referring to key-size ...
9
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1answer
2k views

Why is CAMELLIA suddenly so widely used?

When nowadays I point my browser to https sites, the cipher that is on most occasions used is Camellia. My browsers (Chrome and Firefox) seem to prefer it, even when AES is available. Is that not ...
9
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1answer
742 views

Replacing the Rijndael S-Box?

The Rijndael S-Box design generates a permutation cycle of type $2+27+59+81+87$. What effect would replacing that permutation with a cycle of type $256$ have on the security of AES?
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7answers
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Turning a cipher into a hashing function

This is theoretical question. I'd like to know if it's possible (and what are eventually the consequences), not that I'm going to do it in one of my projects. ;) The first hashing functions created ...
8
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3answers
975 views

Is it okay to use a hash of a timestamp as the IV for AES?

The message format includes a datetime field in the clear. Is it okay to also use this field (or some hash thereof) as the initialization vector? In this case, CBC is the mode being used.
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2answers
581 views

Is a small size block cipher usable?

Consider a block cipher with a key of size 128 bits but a small block size, say 32 bits. Is this kind of block cipher secure? I would like to know to what extent I can use a small block cipher, like ...
8
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2answers
448 views

Are Stream Ciphers Less Secure?

This is by no means a scientific observation, but it seems to me that stream ciphers receive a lot less attention than block ciphers. Is there any reason for this? (Is it because block ciphers are ...
8
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1answer
511 views

XSL on serpent and rijndael - which is most affected?

So I've often looked at serpent and thought it was a very strong contender in AES. Not so long ago I was looking for evidence as to why it didn't beat rijndael. So far, the closest I've got answering ...
8
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1answer
826 views

AES and perfect ciphers

I'm taking a crypto class this semester and after learning the definition of a perfect cipher. I started wondering how this definition applies to AES. Obviously AES isn't a perfect cipher, since the ...
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Is it feasible to build a stream cipher from a cryptographic hash function?

A few years ago I devised a symmetric-key system that worked like so: ...
7
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5answers
2k views

Are there any simple and yet secure encryption algorithms?

Being very new to C++ and cryptography, I finally managed to implement a version of the Vinegere algorithm. I would like to try something a bit more complicated. I have looked at AES and DES and ...
7
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3answers
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Difference between stream cipher and block cipher

A typical stream cipher encrypts plaintext one byte at a time, although a stream cipher may be designed to operate on one bit at a time or on units larger than a byte at a time. A block cipher ...
7
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1answer
569 views

What's wrong with MARS?

Why did the MARS cipher receive such a high number of negative votes in the AES competition? As I understand only MARS and Serpent implement measures to counter future cryptoanalytic attacks, so it ...
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2answers
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Why do block ciphers need a non-linear component (like an S-box)?

Why is there a requirement of "Non-Linear functions" as a component of many popular block ciphers (e.g. the S-box in DES or 3DES)? How does it make the cipher more secure? The only intuition I have ...
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2answers
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How to calculate an IV when I have a shared private key?

I'm working with a server/client system that has securely negotiated a private key. I need to encrypt/decrypt messages passing in both directions which are typically between 100 bytes to 100 KB. I'm ...
7
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2answers
637 views

Does AES have any fixed-points?

Is there any pair of 128-bit strings M and K such that AES$_K$(M) = M? If yes, how do I go about (efficiently) finding such a pair?
7
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2answers
590 views

Where can I get information on how to implement AES?

I want to write AES from scratch without using the built in libraries of java. I know there are hundreds of AES programs (and websites) out there but I can't seem to find a site that gives me the ...
7
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3answers
657 views

Converting a stream cipher into a block cipher

The well-known Counter-Mode (CTR) mode of operation for a block cipher essentially converts any block cipher into a stream cipher. Is there a way to do the reverse? In other words, given a "good" ...
7
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2answers
218 views

Will varying plaintext compensate for a fixed initialisation vector?

This is a follow-up question to Relative merits of AES ECB and CBC modes for securing data at rest. I need to store encrypted Personal Account Numbers (PANs) in a database. The only encryption option ...
7
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1answer
268 views

Is TEA considered secure?

Wikipedia claims that the best attack on the surprisingly simple TEA block cipher, that isn't a related-key attack, has a time complexity of $2^{121.5}$. So despite how unsophisticated the cipher ...
7
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1answer
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Is AES-256 a post-quantum secure cipher or not?

We know Grover's algorithm speedup brute-force attacks two time faster in block ciphers (e.g brute-forcing 128 bit keys take $2^{64}$ operations not $2^{128}$). That explains why we are using 256 bit ...
7
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1answer
165 views

Is there any general description language for block ciphers?

In page 9 (16 in the PDF) of Final report of European project IST-1999-12324 (NESSIE), it is mentioned that: The NESSIE project is also developing a new generic tool to analyze block ciphers ...
6
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Security of simple xor and s-box cipher?

What weaknesses (or strengths) do block ciphers based on only key xor and s-box have when operating in CBC mode? A cipher's internal primitive might be a simple as this: $C = S[M \oplus k]$, where ...
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Is Blowfish strong enough for VPN encryption?

I'm looking at an OpenVPN connection between two sites configured to use 128 bit Blowfish in CBC mode, and trying to figure out how to assess the strength, but I just don't know enough of the maths. ...
6
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3answers
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Why is a MAC needed?

I agree that for certain encryption systems or modes of operation, a MAC is indispensible. The best example are probably stream ciphers (and therefore also block ciphers in OFB or CTR mode) that ...
6
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2answers
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Rijndael vs. Serpent vs. Twofish: General comparison

Can anyone explain (or give a link to document about) why Rijndaal won the AES, especially comparing it to other finalists (Serpent and Twofish)? What criteria were used to make decision? Or is there ...
6
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How does the key schedule of Rijndael looks for keysizes other than 128 bit?

It said in Wikipedia that: [....] Rijndael can be specified with block and key sizes in any multiple of 32 bits, with a minimum of 128 bits. The blocksize has a maximum of 256 bits, but the ...
6
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1answer
550 views

How exactly was the finalist chosen in the NIST AES competition?

I was just reading the Stick Figure Guide to AES and came across an interesting table explaining how the winner was chosen: Unfortunately the NIST site is down so I can't gain further information ...
6
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2answers
534 views

Strength of CBC with Ciphertext Stealing

Is CBC with Ciphertext Stealing (CTS) considerably weaker than CBC with padding such as PKCS7? I would imagine the most common situation where CTS is necessary would be due to some size constraint of ...
6
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1answer
435 views

What does NSA mean by 'Analyzable'?

Recently NSA published two new algorithms, Simon and Speck. In the abstract they say The aim of SIMON and SPECK is to fill the need for secure, flexible, and analyzable lightweight block ciphers. ...