(or message authentication code), a short piece of information used to authenticate a message, and the algorithm to create and check such information, using a secret key.

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117
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7answers
21k views

Should we MAC-then-encrypt or encrypt-then-MAC?

Most of the time, when some data must be encrypted, it must also be protected with a MAC, because encryption protects only against passive attackers. There are some nifty encryption modes which ...
20
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is H(k||x) not a secure MAC construction?

If H(m) is a secure hash function, can't we implement a MAC using H(k||m)? However, it seems the more widely used MACs, such as NMAC and HMAC (both originally defined in Keying hash functions for ...
17
votes
1answer
8k views

What are the differences between a digital signature, a MAC and a hash?

A message may be accompanied with a digital signature, a MAC or a message hash, as a proof of some kind. Which assurances does each primitive provide to the recipient? What kind of keys are needed?
16
votes
3answers
620 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
675 views

Attacks of the MAC construction $\mathcal{H}(m||k)$ for common hashes $\mathcal{H}$?

Consider a common practically-collision-resistant hash function $\mathcal{H}$ (e.g. SHA-1, SHA-256, SHA-512, RIPEMD-160), perhaps based on the Merkle–Damgård construction as are the first three. We ...
12
votes
1answer
816 views

Is H(k||length||x) a secure MAC construction?

If $H$ is a typical secure hash function, then $(k,x) \mapsto H(k \mid\mid x)$ is not a secure MAC construction, because given a known plaintext $x_1$ and its MAC $m_1$, an attacker can extend $k ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Why is plain-hash-then-encrypt not a secure MAC?

It seems that even in MAC-then-encrypt systems like SSL, something like HMAC is used rather than a plain hash. Why? Suppose we use some stream cipher; then why can't we use $Encrypt(m | H(m))$ as ...
11
votes
2answers
328 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
4answers
912 views

Can you make a hash out of a stream cipher?

A comment on another question made me wonder about something: Assume you're on a rather constrained platform — say, a low-end embedded device — with no built-in crypto capabilities, ...
9
votes
9answers
436 views

Physical analogue for MACs

What would be a good analogue with which to describe Message Authentication Codes to a person who has little to no understanding of cryptography? For instance, a vault is a reasonable analogue for ...
9
votes
3answers
672 views

UMAC: to what extent is it in use today?

Inspired slightly by the Encrypt-then-MAC question. The most obvious message authentication code is probably HMAC or RFC 2104 which is basically a hash of the input, an xor with a key... you get the ...
8
votes
1answer
6k 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)
8
votes
1answer
154 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
3k views

Why is it insecure to use a randomized IV for CBC-MAC instead of an all-zero IV?

A fixed length CBC-MAC uses an all-zero block as the initialization vector. Suppose that we used a randomized IV instead, and sent the IV along with the tag. So if the message $m$ will be $m = b_1 || ...
8
votes
2answers
598 views

Why is h(m||k) insecure?

Here is the post that explains the failure for doing h(k||m) and I understand it. But I don't understand how h(m||k) is subjected to collison attack, or birthday attack. Please explain?
8
votes
1answer
353 views

Cryptographically secure keyed rolling hash function

I could not find any mention on the Internet of a proven/known cryptographically secure keyed rolling hash function (ie rolling MAC). Has the question been studied, is it possible to build one ? By ...
7
votes
1answer
767 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
645 views

Is the encryption of a hash a good MAC?

At university we were told that it is a bad idea to implement a MAC by simply concatenating a key with the data to sign and to run it through a hash function (e.g. $s = ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the purpose of four different secrets shared by client and server in SSL/TLS?

I was looking through the working of SSL V3, and found that a connection state is defined by a set of things, including client write mac secret, server write mac secret, server write key, client ...
7
votes
2answers
243 views

Why have hashes when you have MACs?

It would seem to a naive eye that if you have a MAC, you have a hash function: use a key that all the parties know (such as all-bits-zero). A potential application would be a resource-constrained ...
7
votes
1answer
658 views

Why are MACs in general deterministic, whereas digital signature constructions are randomized?

The fact is I'm not quite sure if my question statement is true, however all the MAC constructions I know of (e.g. CBC-MAC, CMAC, HMAC) are deterministic, whereas many constructions for digital ...
7
votes
2answers
214 views

Definition of “pepper” in hash functions

I am confused about the notion of "pepper" in the context of storing hashes of users' passwords. Definition 1: A pepper is a secret key Looking around the Internet, for example here or here, a ...
7
votes
1answer
816 views

In which situations is a length-extension attack a problem?

A lot of hash functions, including the SHA-2 family(but not the SHA-3 candidates and SHA256d) are vulnerable to length extension attacks. But when is this property a problem? I guess certain naive ...
6
votes
2answers
177 views

Why don't we use MACs to store passwords?

These days, the best practice for storing passwords is to use a scheme like scrypt or bcrypt. The goal of these schemes is to make dictionary attack inefficient for an attacker but it also slows down ...
6
votes
3answers
289 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
166 views

Does there exist a proof-of-retrievability scheme that is publicly-verifiable, limited-use, and does not use homomorphic encryption?

I find myself wanting to test out a practical implementation of a proof-of-retrievability scheme, simply out of curiosity. These schemes seem to be divided into two variations, publicly-verified and ...
6
votes
1answer
509 views

Practical uses of Manipulation Detection Code (MDC) and IGE

I've just skimmed over most of the paper "On Message Integrity in Symmetric Encryption". I've included (the last) part of the abstract below: We show that generic compositions of ...
6
votes
2answers
773 views

ChaCha cipher + Poly1305

The Poly1305-AES paper summarizes the MAC as $$ \mathrm{Poly1305}(m, \mathrm{AES}_k(n)) = {H_r(m) + \mathrm{AES}_k(n)} \mod 2^{128} $$ Can I presume that $+$ here is just meant as a form of 16-byte ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Encrypt-then-MAC Confidentiality, Integrity and Authenticity

Does Encrypt-then-MAC provide equal confidentiality, integrity and authenticity as other constructs such as EAX? If yes, how do I go about using it? My current understanding is: E = ...
5
votes
3answers
603 views

Can I jettison MAC if I already have SHA1(M)?

I'm currently using SSL with AES-CBC and HMAC for a file transfer containing string M. Now suppose Alice already knows SHA1(M) (and the adversary does not), and she downloads M from Bob using only ...
5
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
191 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
1answer
125 views

How would you encrypt-then-MAC when using pen-and-paper and a Caesar cipher?

I'll probably get shot for asking this, but I've got some kids (aged 8-10) in my neighbourhood that I've been showing/teaching the simple pen-and-paper Caesar cipher and they're successfully playing ...
5
votes
2answers
289 views

Cost of attacking Mobile OTP with a fake server

You want to obtain a 74-bit secret $K$. There is an oracle that will provide you with the following value for several values of $T$: ...
5
votes
1answer
225 views

How does NaCL Poly1305 implementation do modular multiplication?

The NaCL ref implementation of Poly1305 performs modular multiplication to calculate a polynomial $\mod 2^{130} - 5$ using the following modular multiplication ...
5
votes
2answers
148 views

Does data authenticity always, implicitly, provide data integrity?

Does a scheme which provides data authenticity (e.g. HMAC or RSA signature) always implicitly provide integrity? It seems, to me at least, that it must by necessity. However, I have seen ...
5
votes
1answer
229 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
193 views

Can Poly1305 be used with block ciphers running in CTR mode?

Is the use of Poly1305 limited to stream ciphers? (note, I'm not talking about Poly1305-AES )? Can it be used with block ciphers running in CTR mode? If so, what other considerations/limitations are ...
5
votes
0answers
55 views

Why is Poly1305 popular given its 'sudden death' properties?

ECDSA has the undesirable property that if a key pair reuses a nonce in a signing operation, the cryptosystem experiences catastrophic failure in the form of private key leakage. I've heard this ...
4
votes
2answers
224 views

Is SHA1 secure with such many inputs Z that Z = constant secret X + variable public Y?

Let me ask whether SHA1 is designed to be secure for the following case. You compute each SHA1 of many strings,for example 1 million, where each string is a concatenation of X+Y , where X is secret ...
4
votes
1answer
172 views

Proof that MACing a hash of the message is also a secure MAC

I found a theorem that says: Let $MAC = (S,V)$ be a MAC for short messages over $(K,M,T)$. Let $H: M^{big} → M$. Define $MAC^{big} = (S^{big},V^{big})$ over $(K,M^{big},T)$ as: $S^{big}(k,m) = ...
4
votes
1answer
342 views

Why is H(message||secret_key) not vulnerable to length-extension attack?

Given a Merkle-Damgård hash function $H$, I know that an attacker can forge a message protected by a MAC computed as $H(\textrm{secret_key}||\textrm{message})$. Why can't he perform the same ...
4
votes
1answer
163 views

What are the consequences of a MAC tag collision?

I've seen some proofs of MAC security that are based on the extremely-unlikely event that two MAC tags collide (ie, they are equal for distinct messages). Suppose that this extremely unlikely event ...
4
votes
1answer
175 views

Why are collision attacks important when talking about MAC schemes?

I'm reading Ferguson, Schneier, and Kouno's Cryptography Engineering, and it has a section on MACs. It discusses different types of MACs, but it seems to claim that to acheive 128-bit level security, ...
4
votes
1answer
224 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
368 views

Has GMAC mode a future outside GCM?

Once gcm has been implemented for providing both encryption & authentication solution , it appears obvious to consider that such implementation can also provide (if required by new user) a Mac ...
4
votes
2answers
131 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
365 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
1answer
305 views

Is there a generic attack on encrypted CRC32 when used as a MAC?

I am examining a protocol that uses CRC32 as a MAC (see note 1) the weaknesses of this method but I would nevertheless like to see if it is just weak or actually relatively easily to break. The ...
4
votes
1answer
179 views

Keyed digest function with odds of collision below the birthday bound?

I wonder if it is possible to devise a function $F(K,S,R_S)\mapsto D$ where: $K$ is some key (I have freedom on $K$, it could even be generated by a trusted party); $S$ is in $\{0,1\}^s$, say ...