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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

30
votes
3answers
4k views

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?
28
votes
4answers
10k views

What are the practical difference 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?
27
votes
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 ...
21
votes
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
votes
4answers
13k views

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?
18
votes
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 ...
14
votes
2answers
3k views

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 ...
13
votes
4answers
5k views

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?
13
votes
2answers
6k 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, ...
13
votes
3answers
792 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. ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

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
votes
3answers
693 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
votes
1answer
699 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

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, ...
11
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
5k 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
votes
3answers
450 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
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
2k 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
votes
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
votes
1answer
656 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?
9
votes
1answer
381 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 $|M|=m\cdot b$ ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

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 ...
8
votes
3answers
909 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.
8
votes
2answers
477 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
votes
1answer
479 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
votes
1answer
781 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 ...
7
votes
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
votes
1answer
511 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
604 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
votes
3answers
610 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
votes
2answers
419 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
158 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
votes
4answers
1k views

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: ...
6
votes
3answers
987 views

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
6
votes
3answers
265 views

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
votes
2answers
4k views

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
votes
2answers
189 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
433 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
votes
2answers
426 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
votes
1answer
412 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. ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
270 views

Can a nested block cipher avoid the meet in the middle attack by using a secret initialization vector for the inner encryption?

It seems to be believed that encrypting twice with a block cipher using an independent key each time is not as secure as you might expect because of the "meet in the middle" attack. This is an attack ...
5
votes
7answers
408 views

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 ...
5
votes
4answers
859 views

Is SHA-256 secure as a CTR block cipher?

Generate a 256-bit random nonce. XOR it with a 256-bit reusable symmetric key. This is x. We represent numbers in simple binary instead of a counting function. ...
5
votes
2answers
891 views

AES plaintext is smaller than 128 bits - how to expand?

We are currently developing a little AES implementation in a crypto-course at university. As far as I know, AES uses a 128 bit block length, so all data that will be encrypted gets split up into ...
5
votes
3answers
589 views

CBC - a canonical mode, even though there are streaming modes

Why is CBC considered the canonical mode when there are streaming modes available such as CFB and OFB? One thing that I can think of is that in CBC you can easliy do range-based decryption. All you ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Encryption with “constant” initialization vector considered harmful

I try to get the full reasoning behind the above statement. First, after reading articles here and at wikipedia i understand that using an IV only once is good practice. For stream ciphers not doing ...