HMAC is a method for constructing a message authentication code based on a cryptographic hash function.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

23
votes
2answers
3k views

What do the magic numbers 0x5c and 0x36 in the opad/ipad calc in HMAC do?

Wikipedia lists the following pseudocode for HMAC: ...
20
votes
3answers
869 views

Purpose of outer key in HMAC

From what I know, the HMAC constructions has two strength: It's resistant to length extensions Since the key is consumed before the message, the attacker does not know the initial state, preventing ...
17
votes
1answer
837 views

How secure would HMAC-SHA3 be?

It would be possible to implement the HMAC construction with (draft) SHA-3, leading to HMAC-SHA3-224, HMAC-SHA3-256, HMAC-SHA3-384, HMAC-SHA3-512 (the last 3 digits are the output size $\ell$, where ...
13
votes
1answer
9k views

HMAC vs MAC functions

I've read definitions of MAC and HMAC, but can't say I've completely grasped the differences. What are principle differences? When to use one and when the other?(Typical Use Cases)
13
votes
1answer
988 views

Is Encrypt+HMAC stronger than AEAD?

There are a few posts that I've come across that seem to infer that using regular encryption and a MAC might be better than using the newer AEAD (ie: AES/GCM) modes. ...
11
votes
1answer
3k views

Is HMAC-MD5 considered secure for authenticating encrypted data?

I've read something to the effect that the HMAC construct is able to lessen the problem of collisions in the underlying hash. Does that mean that something like HMAC-MD5 still might be considered ...
11
votes
1answer
805 views

Security of N bit HMAC

Lets say that I am using 128 bit HMAC. How many operations are needed to find a "non secure" message. Is a birthday attack possible?
11
votes
2answers
451 views

Can I use HMAC-SHA1 in counter mode to make a stream cipher?

Say I have an embedded device which is only capable of doing HMAC-SHA1 transformations (that device is, in fact, a YubiKey). Would it be secure to feed it like a block cipher in counter mode to get a ...
11
votes
2answers
689 views

Why is the salt used only once in PBKDF2, while the password is used often?

The purpose of PBKDF2 is to create a derived key (DK) from a master password (PW) and a salt, often using a function like HMAC-SHA256. I have read that the salt should be as random as possible. But ...
11
votes
1answer
362 views

Which MACs can be converted into a secure unkeyed hash function?

It is known that setting the secret key to a fixed, public value does not make MACs like CBC-MAC or GMAC into secure unkeyed cryptographic hash functions that could be used - for instance - for ...
9
votes
2answers
4k views

Using the same secret key for encryption and authentication in a Encrypt-then-MAC scheme

Is it a weakness to use a single shared secret for protecting messages using a Encrypt-then-MAC scheme? Assuming a system is using AES-256-CBC and a SHA1-HMAC and the same secret key for both ...
9
votes
2answers
692 views

Encrypt-then-MAC: Do I need to authenticate the IV?

In the setting of Encrypt-then-MAC, do I need to include the IV in what I'm HMACing, or is authenticating just the AES-encrypted data sufficient?
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Use cases for CMAC vs. HMAC?

Both can be used to verify the integrity of a message. Assuming you have the needed primitives available to you (i.e. the code space of needing both a cipher and a hash function isn't prohibitive), is ...
8
votes
4answers
649 views

Can I determine if a user has the wrong symmetric encryption key?

We're using the Objectivity/DB object database with a custom encryption plugin that encrypts serialized objects on disk. Encryption uses AES with a shared secret key held by all users. I would like to ...
8
votes
1answer
190 views

Can Skein be used as a secure MAC in format H(k || m)?

Can Skein be used as a secure MAC in format H(k || m)? I understand it can work with HMAC, but it is fine as a one-pass MAC in the format above and resists length extension attacks. Is this ...
8
votes
1answer
9k views

HMAC-SHA1 vs HMAC-SHA256

I have three questions: Would you use HMAC-SHA1 or HMAC-SHA256 for message authentication? How much HMAC-SHA256 is slower than HMAC-SHA1? Are the security improvements of SHA256 (over SHA1) enough ...
8
votes
2answers
4k views

What are advantages of using a HMAC over RSA with SHA-1 hashes?

I am currently studying for an exam and this was a previous question: Give one advantage of using HMACs over using RSA to sign SHA-1 hashes. My thoughts are that it has something to do with the ...
7
votes
2answers
7k views

What is the difference between MAC and HMAC?

In reference to this question, what are the "stronger security properties" that HMAC provides over MAC. I got that MAC requires an IV whereas HMAC doesn't. I also understood that MAC may reveal ...
7
votes
1answer
589 views

Why does a broken hash function undermine an HMAC?

For instance, what makes MD4 a bad choice for an HMAC? In this case I am asking about MD4 because its less than ideal. I know that a preimage attack can be used to undermine the system, but why? ...
7
votes
2answers
587 views

Is it secure to derive an AES key from a MAC?

I'm working on a project where we need to encrypt a large number of files and store them on the cloud. And I'm wondering if the following process would be secure (we have a “Hardware Security Module” ...
6
votes
3answers
795 views

How to authenticate over open channel?

I am making an arduino project to open my garage door. I want to make it so users with the passphrase can open the door. Due to computational restrictions it is unlikely encryption is possible. ...
6
votes
2answers
300 views

Is HMAC-MD5 still secure for commitment or other common uses?

MD5 collisions have been out for some time. In spite of this, HMAC-MD5 is still secure for authenticating data1. This illustrates a strength of the HMAC construction, it does not require that the hash ...
6
votes
2answers
209 views

Is the HMAC construction really neccessary for a fixed length message?

The HMAC Construction is defined as: Hash( (Key XOR opad) || Hash((Key XOR ipad) || Message) ) This was designed because a simpler construction such as: ...
6
votes
2answers
596 views

Why are HOTP and TOTP implementations all using 6 digits and not more?

I was checking the RFC's after wondering for some time. In RFC 4226 - HOTP: An HMAC-Based One-Time Password Algorithm, it states on the appendix: A simple enhancement in terms of security would be ...
6
votes
2answers
548 views

Which risks are associated with deriving multiple keys from the same DH secret Z?

NIST recommends Krawczyk's HMAC-based key derivation function (HKDF) in SP-800-56C (PDF). HKDF shall e.g. be used to create keys from shared secrets after Diffie Hellman key establishment. NIST ...
6
votes
1answer
176 views

Is HMAC-SHA-1 secure?

Although SHA-1 theoretically has collisions, HMAC-SHA-1 which is based on SHA-1 is still widely used (in TLS for example) and is considered to be secure. How is that possible?
6
votes
2answers
505 views

When using HMAC, does key encoding matter?

Given: H is a good hash function with block size L. K is a key of length >= L (recommended by RFC 2104). Khex and Kbase64 are ASCII encodings of K. In the HMAC algorithm, is there a good reason to ...
6
votes
1answer
815 views

How does the secret key in an HMAC prevent modification of the HMAC?

Just as a preface: I'm not implementing a HMAC - I just want to understand it, as it is part of of my Computer Science course. When using Hash-based message authentication codes, I understand that ...
6
votes
1answer
325 views

Single-purpose symmetric encryption scheme for single files

I'm writing a simple password manager program that will encrypt/decrypt a single file (it's size will most likely stay under a few K). This is my initial file format design: ...
5
votes
3answers
876 views

What is the difference between a HMAC and a hash of data?

On a recent question it became apparent that there's a significant difference between an HMAC of input data and a hash of input data. What exactly is the difference between an HMAC and a hash of a ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Is PBKDF2-HMAC-SHA1 really broken?

I just read through this article which demonstrates practical (and seemingly trivial) collisions in PBKDF2-HMAC-SHA1, and provides a few examples of collisions. Am I missing something here? Is ...
5
votes
1answer
435 views

HMAC for short messages

I am using HMAC (hmac-sha256 to be precise) message authentication without encryption. My question is, is having a short message make it easy to determine what my secret key is? My C# code is as ...
5
votes
1answer
509 views

Security for IV in AES-GCM mode

I'd like to use AES-GCM instead of HMAC for authentication and privacy in a token used in a web application, but I'm unsure how to securely tag each token with an IV. Is it safe for me to prepend the ...
5
votes
1answer
53 views

Keys in HMAC and NMAC

I'm quite new to this topic and have several questions concerning HMAC and NMAC: Why does NMAC need two keys? How can it be attacked if we just used some sort of initialization vector instead of the ...
5
votes
2answers
275 views

Block-cipher based vs Hash based MAC

When it comes to MAC algorithms one can have many choices. CBC-MAC, CMAC, PMAC etc are some MAC algorithms that rely on block ciphers (ex AES) to generate a MAC. On the other hand HMAC is very popular ...
5
votes
1answer
276 views

Is HMAC needed for a SHA-3 based MAC?

HMAC does nested hashing in order to prevent Length Extension Attacks. Given that you use the SHA-3 hash (which is resistant against length extension attacks), would you still need to go through that ...
5
votes
2answers
199 views

How is HMAC(message,key) more secure than Hash(key1+message+key2)

I understand how for hash functions which are vulnerable to length extension attacks (such as SHA1 and SHA2) it is safer to use a HMAC construction. What I don't understand is, how or why is ...
5
votes
2answers
279 views

Is my HMAC secure if I have a complete series of HMAC'd prefix strings

Let's say I have a long sentence, like "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog." Let's further say that I need to keep this string encrypted, so I use an HMAC. Let's further further say I want ...
5
votes
1answer
245 views

HMAC construction based on the combination of two hash functions

I would like an $\operatorname{HMAC}$ that's based on two different hash functions ($H_1$ and $H_2$), so that a break of the combined $\operatorname{HMAC}$ would imply a break of ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Which of these 3 AES 128 symmetric encrypt/decrypt routines is most secure?

I am developing a symmetric en-/decryption routine written in c# for a database containing user-specific, sensitive information. I have narrowed down the implementation to 3 different approaches, ...
4
votes
2answers
550 views

Is there a standard way to use a nonce with HMAC?

Many protocols use HMAC on messages that include a nonce, but they don't seem to do it in a consistent way. For example, in OAuth the nonce is in the middle of an URL-encoded key-value string, like ...
4
votes
2answers
181 views

Combining two keys

What is the most secure way to combine two "random" keys X of size k (k ≤ 512 bits) and Y of size 512 bits in one key Z of size k? Result Z will be used for encryption/decryption with various ...
4
votes
1answer
376 views

For a one-time pad, which MAC method is information-theoretically secure?

In the the main post about MAC methods it mentions a few methods: Authenticate And Encrypt: The sender computes a MAC of the plaintext, encrypts the plaintext, and then appends the MAC to the ...
4
votes
1answer
411 views

Alternatives to HMAC + CBC?

I'm looking at using HMAC + CBC. The combination looks like this: ciphertext = AES256(text, k1) data = HMAC-SHA256(iv | ciphertext, k2) | iv | ciphertext Where: ...
4
votes
1answer
194 views

Future-Proof Versioning and Validation

I am working on a library (using standard primitives: AES256 CTR; HMAC with SHA256; PBKDF2 with SHA256, 128 bit salt, and 10000 rounds) to encrypt and decrypt data, given a password. The encrypted ...
4
votes
1answer
750 views

GCM vs CTR+HMAC tradeoffs

So these days I see everyone using AES-GCM. What are its advantages over simple CTR+HMAC modes? Is it speed? Or ciphertext length? And what are the security tradeoffs, both in terms of practical ...
4
votes
2answers
244 views

Is this streamable combination of encryption and MAC secure?

I want to combine encryption and MAC. For encryption I use AES-256 with CBC and PKCS5Padding. For MAC I use HmacSHA512. I use the Encrypt-then-Mac approach (calculate MAC over the ciphertext and ...
4
votes
1answer
69 views

Are HMACs based on hashes with larger bit-lengths also more secure?

When doing encrypt-then-mac, I can choose to use a hmac as the MAC. For example, I could use a hash like SHA-256 or SHA-512 (by using it as a keyed hash) to create that HMAC. Does it increase ...
4
votes
1answer
359 views

Memory-hard operations in work-factor hash functions

I'm playing around with work-factor hash functions, and I'm looking for a memory-hard operation to make it resistant to GPU / parallel hardware attacks. I considered a very large (i.e. 64K) s-box that ...
4
votes
1answer
283 views

Undecrypt using the OpenSSL EVP API?

I'm writing a client-server encryption scheme for homework, and I've stumbled upon what might be a fatal blow to my current implementation. When using AES-256-CBC on the two sides, it's important ...