usually secret information used as input to various kinds of cryptographic algorithms, like encryption, signature, MAC, to select the concrete transformation done by the algorithm.

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26
votes
2answers
12k views

What is the main difference between a key, an IV and a nonce?

What are the main differences between a nonce, a key and an IV? Without any doubt the key should be kept secret. But what about the nonce and the IV? What's the main difference between them and their ...
19
votes
7answers
7k views

How can SSL secure a two-way communication with only one key-pair?

As I understand it, SSL involved the use of a public-private key pair. How does this enable two-way communication? Suppose I have some server with which I wish to communicate securely. I connect to ...
12
votes
1answer
4k views

Why do all SSH-RSA Keys begin with “AAAAB3NzaC1yc”?

My Friend and I have been generating a few ssh2-rsa keys and noticed that all the public keys began with "AAAAB3NzaC1yc". The similarity extended to "AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABIwAAAQEA" between two keys I ...
12
votes
3answers
686 views

Where do I securely store the key for a system where the source is visible?

I have a customer with an Access database (ugh!) in which credit cards are stored in plaintext (yikes!), so amongst other changes I'm doing in the app, I'm applying some encryption in there. I've ...
11
votes
6answers
1k views

Why does PBKDF2 xor the iterations of the hash function together?

The definition of PBKDF2 states that I obtain a derived key (1) by calling a pseudorandom function a bunch of times recursively: $U_1 = PRF(password, salt)$ $U_2 = PRF(password, U_1)$ … $U_n ...
10
votes
2answers
3k views

How many RSA keys before a collision?

I was wondering how many possible private/public keys exist? If a million people – for whatever reason – would try to generate 5 keys each in the same minute (on the same date and time) is there a ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

Related-key attacks on AES

According to Wikipedia: Related-key attacks can break AES-192 and AES-256 with complexities $2^{176}$ and $2^{99.5}$, respectively. What are the requirements for these attacks (i.e how many ...
9
votes
2answers
961 views

When using Curve25519, why does the private key always have a fixed bit at 2^254?

When using Curve25519, the private key always seems to have a fixed bit set at position 2^254. Why is that? Is there any good reason to use a fixed positioned most-significant-bit in the private key? ...
9
votes
3answers
634 views

Can we ensure the security of a crypto-algorithm and -implementaton against acoustic cryptanalysis?

Like people always say: “Attacks only get worse…” — which is why I'm asking early. I have been reading the paper “RSA Key Extraction via Low-Bandwidth Acoustic Cryptanalysis” published December 18, ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

How exactly does key whitening manage to increase security?

Wikipedia states that key whitening increases security: In cryptography, key whitening is a technique intended to increase the security of an iterated block cipher. It consists of steps that ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Encrypt a file once with 50 characters password or twice with 25 characters?

What better Encrypt the file once with 50 characters password or encrypt it twice each time with 25 characters password.
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Using the same RSA keypair to sign and encrypt

The RSA signature operation is basically the same as encrypting with the private key. In particular, both operations use the same kind of keys. Is it safe to use the same RSA keypair both for ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

How and why can a decryption program tell me that a key is incorrect?

I have noticed that some programs used for file encryption will tell you if an entered key is wrong when you try to decrypt. It seems (to me at least) that this would mean that the key somehow is ...
7
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
309 views

How to protect key in software

I need to encrypt/decrypt data from my software by AES, the problem is how to make the AES key secure, there is no HSM, should I hard code the key in my code? It seems that a hacker can read the key ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

How does GPG verify succesful decryption?

How does GPG (or other programs using the OpenPGP file format) verify that it has succeeded with decryption (for symmetrically encrypted data)? Is something appended to the clear text so there exist ...
7
votes
2answers
787 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” ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the largest performed/possible bruteforce attack to date?

I've read that cracking 128-bit key is currently out of reach of all humanity. However, I can't seem to find any information on what scope of brute force attacks have been performed or are possible at ...
7
votes
2answers
684 views

Key Length & Hashing

I need to use a hash function to generate a 128-bit key for a symmetric cipher. The specific cipher is from the eStream portofolio, called Rabbit. I am using the SRP protocol for authentication (a ...
7
votes
3answers
784 views

Order of cascaded ciphers

Does the order of a block cipher cascade (e.g. in TrueCrypt) make a difference to the security provided, assuming independant keys? For example: ...
6
votes
3answers
520 views

1 Billion Bit Encryption?

So, browsing through YouTube, I stumbled on this video interview of John Draper (Captain Crunch), one of the first "hackers". He talks for about 3 minutes (until 27:48) about his home rolled ...
6
votes
5answers
376 views

Using multiple secret keys

I have two secret keys. One is a secret key generated by OpenSSL (primary secret key). Second key is generated by performing one way hash operation to GPS co ordinates and time parameters (geo secret ...
6
votes
3answers
834 views

AES key reuse and guessing the key

Bit of a noob question and a fair bit of Googling didn't help. I understand that the current encryption standard is AES256. A few questions Is the point of this (and other encryption techniques) to ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

If PGP and GPG both follow the OpenPGP standard, are they 100% compatible in all use cases?

If someone gives me their PGP key, can I use it with GPG, and vice versa, all the time (100% interchangeable)? Or are there times when they are not compatible, when only PGP can be used with a PGP ...
6
votes
3answers
20k views

AES 256 Encryption - Is it really easy to decrypt if you have the key?

So this might sound like a crazy question but bear with me for a minute. I can't find any info on the internet and so am here, although this might have been a good place to start. I've recently ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

How key materials are generated in SSL V3 from master secret

The generation of key materials is given by ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

AES key expansion: 256bit key

In AES algorithm, in the key schedule, Why does the expansion of a 256 bit key need an extra application of the S-box, unlike the expansion of 128 bit and 192 bit keys ? (The obvious answer would be ...
6
votes
1answer
732 views

Is quantum key distribution safe against MITM attacks too?

i read this recently: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12786-quantum-cryptography-to-protect-swiss-election.html and some parts of this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_key_distribution ...
6
votes
2answers
971 views

Hash decrypts key, key decrypts cipher… why?

I noticed recently that a couple of pieces of encryption software (TrueCrypt being one of them) don't directly use a hash of the password as the key for the block cipher. Instead, they generate a ...
6
votes
1answer
420 views

What is 'key agility' in relation to symmetric-key encryption?

I sometimes see, in discussions of symmetric ciphers, reference to the 'key agility' of a particular algorithm. It seems to be related to the difficulty of switching encryption keys, but I don't ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Creating an encryption key from several other keys and using hash functions

I want to combine two or more keys to create a single encryption key that relies on all of them. What is the proper method for doing that? Simple XOR? Using hash functions? Something else? I ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Is a private RSA key vulnerable to a chosen plaintext encrypted with that private key?

I grasp that having known plaintext encrypted with the public key doesn't provide a means of discovering the private key (that being the whole point...). But if one were in a situation where they ...
6
votes
1answer
251 views

Is it OK to use a data-encryption key for key wrapping, too?

Our industry (area of cheap networked devices) has a standard that defines the usage of keys for both authentication and encryption using EAX mode of AES. This standard does not define key management, ...
6
votes
1answer
91 views

Generating a key to use with AES

I'm going paperless, and I want to encrypt the documents that I scan. I'd like to use CommonCrypto to perform AES-XTS encryption on each file. I'm a software engineer, and I like the idea of being ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

How to require two keyholders to decrypt a document?

I want to create a system to encrypt a document and store it with a 3rd party, but not have the 3rd party be able to decrypt it until some unspecified later date. It seems like the solution would be ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

DES — Can I recover the key when I have both ciphertext and the plaintext?

Given a message and DES encrypted form of said message, is it possible to efficiently compute the key used to encrypt the data?
5
votes
1answer
471 views

Dan Boneh's Cryptography lecture - problem with 802.11b

I am going through Dan Boneh's Cyprography lectures on Coursera. In Lecture 6 https://class.coursera.org/crypto-010/lecture/6 At 7:30 minutes, he discusses the problems with 802.11b design. I ...
5
votes
2answers
10k views

The modulus of RSA public key

I am studying the RSA cryptosystem. The public key consists of $(n, e)$, the modulus (product of two large primes), and the encryption exponent. I want to separate the modulus $n$ and exponent $e$. A ...
5
votes
1answer
653 views

Secure AES Key Generation via Salsa20?

I am not creating my own cryptography or anything, but to learn about the Dos and Donts of cryptography, I am looking into AES encryption and ways to generate keys for that. As far as I've ...
5
votes
1answer
369 views

Why are the random exponents so much bigger in the Socialist Millionaire protocol versus Diffie-Hellman key exchange?

Section 8, Security considerations, of RFC3526, which defines groups used for Diffie-Hellman has a table recommending some random exponent sizes. In particular, it says: The strength of a key ...
5
votes
2answers
897 views

Using bad generator in ElGamal Encryption

Suppose Alice chooses a random Prime $p$ and a random private Key $a \in \mathbb{Z}^*_p$. By accident, she also chooses a random number $g \in \mathbb{Z}^*_p$, which is not a generator of ...
5
votes
1answer
264 views

Is it possible to weaken a bitcoin private key by “using” it elsewhere?

What are the increased possibilities (if any) of being able to crack a private key given the following: The associated bitcoin (ECDSA Secp256k1-based) public key is known. The private key has been ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

What is an efficient random number generation algorithm

I have been looking for the algorithm that generates random number and this algorithm has to be more secure. I am going to use this algorithm to generate the salt that will be used in PBKDF2. ...
4
votes
3answers
593 views

Why does an algorithm need a keyspace?

Why does an algorithm need a keyspace? I thought the person encrypting would define his/her own key.
4
votes
4answers
876 views

What is the actual difference between security through obscurity and true encryption?

In an abstract sense, aren't both the same? Don't their definitions boil down to the following? security through obscurity: trying to make sure some information cannot be obtained without knowing ...
4
votes
4answers
848 views

Two different keys decrypting same content

is there some generally available algorithm which will encrypt a short string and generate two unique keys so that any of the two can be used to decrypt the message again? It doesn't has to be "super ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Can curve25519 keys be used with ed25519 keys?

Can curve25519 keys be used with ed25519? I'd prefer to use ed25519, but there isn't a fast java version. For my application, I'd like to use curve25519 until I can get a faster ed25519 for java. ...
4
votes
2answers
702 views

Does AES-128 have the same strength as AES-256 with a padded key?

When I use the same 128-bit key for AES-128 and AES-256 with a known/public padding for the latter, is there some weakness in AES-256 that is not present in AES-128 with essentially the same key? ...
4
votes
2answers
525 views

Is Chaocipher a secure cipher under ciphertext-only attack?

Chaocipher was invented by John F. Byrne in 1919. The algorithm was recently revealed – see Moshe Rubin's Chaocipher Revealed, the Algorithm (PDF). While a known plaintext attack successfully finds ...
4
votes
1answer
313 views

What is considered a “weak key” in AES?

I need to construct an AES key from an array of bytes (in Java), but I first I have to check if the key created from these bytes would be weak. Java can check for weakness for DES, but not for AES. ...