Questions about the meaning and proper use of specific technical terms or notation within cryptography.

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15
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2answers
6k 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 ...
10
votes
7answers
2k views

How exactly is “true randomness” defined in the realms of cryptography?

Especially in relation to stream ciphers, I frequently read about (sometimes theoretical, sometimes practical) attacks that are able to "distinguish a ciphertext from a truly random stream". What's ...
10
votes
2answers
318 views

Terminology: differences between the terms “pre-master secret”, “master secret”, “private key”, and “shared secret”?

Both crypto.SE and security.SE have excellent Q&As about how TLS generates session keys (I have linked some at the bottom). In reading these threads I'm having troubles with terminology since the ...
10
votes
2answers
337 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
4k views

Why is Diffie-Hellman considered in the context of public key cryptography?

In all textbooks I used the Diffie-Hellman key exchange is under "public key cryptography". As far as I can see it is a method to exchange a key to be used with a symmetric cryptographic algorithm, ...
9
votes
1answer
301 views

What is the origin of the word “Keccak”?

Where does the word or acronym Keccak come from? Guido Bertoni, Joan Daemen, Michael Peeters, and Gilles Van Assche. Keccak sponge function family main document. Submission to NIST (updated), 2009. ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

The exact difference between a permutation and a substitution

I've noticed confusing definitions about permutation and substitution, preventing to make the difference. A permutation changes the order of distincts elements of a set, but this can be writen as a ...
8
votes
2answers
559 views

Toy cipher — does it have a name?

When I was perhaps nine years, I borrowed a book from the library on various maths and CS topics. It outlined various simple ciphers, including one that I used a lot, just for fun. I can't remember ...
8
votes
1answer
560 views

Are there any authoritative definitions of “key stretching”?

This is mostly a terminology question, but I suppose that it is best asked and answered here. After browsing the Internet I have come across a fair number of completely different definitions of the ...
7
votes
1answer
184 views

What is the “artificial abort” technique?

In the security proof of Brent Waters's paper Efficient Identity-Based Encryption Without Random Oracles, he uses a novel “artificial abort” step on page 6. At this point the simulator is still ...
6
votes
5answers
4k views

What is the difference between CSPRNG and PRNG?

What is the difference between CSPRNG and PRNG? Is there performance differential between them? For example: We use PRNG for key generation which is very expensive and CSPRNG for IV/nonce in block ...
6
votes
6answers
1k views

Cryptography vs Security

This may sound a little bit of basic but here it goes… Which of the following is correct? “Cryptography is under the security field”, or “Security is under the cryptography field?” Cryptography ...
6
votes
1answer
392 views

What does a “cycle” mean in cryptography benchmarks?

In this table of the "Crypto++ 5.6.0 Benchmarks", for example, cryptographic algorithm performance is measured in cycles per byte for symmetric ciphers, and in cycles per operation for asymmetric ...
6
votes
1answer
113 views

What is “witness encryption”?

I recently skimmed over tho papers on time-lock encryption: “Time-release Protocol from Bitcoin and Witness Encryption for SAT” by Liu, Garcia, and Ryan “How to Build Time-Lock Encryption” by Jager ...
6
votes
1answer
159 views

What does pseudo pre-image of a hash function mean?

So finding a pre-image means given the hash value, one tries to find a message that gives this value using the function's standard IV. What about pseudo-preimage?
6
votes
2answers
321 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
2answers
646 views

What does “circuits” mean in Cryptography?

I am not a hardcore cryptographer so this might be a really stupid question. I am looking through some papers in homomorphic encryption and discovered they describe computation as "circuits", why do ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

What is it meant by a “hybrid argument”?

Can anyone explain (or point to a reference for) what a hybrid argument is in a security proof, and when it's convenient or preferable to use it? Among some of the places where I've seen it ...
4
votes
3answers
408 views

What is the difference between a 'cipher' and a 'mode of operation'?

What is the difference between the term cipher (a name like RIJNDAEL) and mode of operation (like ECB)? Aren't these both terms for the encryption/decryption technique?
4
votes
1answer
340 views

What is 'security margin'?

I have been academic papers about Rijndael, Serpent, and Twofish, and there is this term that is vague to me. I cannot find a tangible definition in google. Can someone briefly define, describe, ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

What is “Implicit Authentication”?

What is “Implicit Authentication” in the context of authentication methods? I searched the Web but could not find any article that describes this. If anyone can describe it, that would be a great ...
4
votes
1answer
778 views

What is “Blinding” used for in cryptography?

What does "blinding" mean in cryptography, and where do we usually use it? Can you describe a sample implementation?
3
votes
3answers
155 views

The meaning of “scheme”

This question is a bit different from other questions here, but I think it is suitable to correctly understand the terminology of cryptography. Consider the following two sets of terms: Encryption ...
3
votes
1answer
219 views

Difference between lightweight, online and low memory Authenticated Encryption schemes

What is the basic difference between the following types of Authenticated Encryption (AE) schemes? Lightweight Authenticated encryption Online Authenticated Encryption Authenticated Encryption for ...
3
votes
1answer
620 views

Non-linearity of a boolean function

What's the definition of non-linearity of a boolean function? Roughly saying it is minimum number of times it equals any affine function. But I don't get it mathematically. For example, if $f = ...
3
votes
1answer
71 views

What does “simulator” and “interactive” mean in a cryptographic credential system's definition of security?

Definition 1 on Page 7 of “An Efficient System for Non-transferable Anonymous Credentials with Optional Anonymity Revocation” by Camenisch and Lysyanskaya, uses the term “simulator” in defining the ...
3
votes
1answer
119 views

Is secure communication without public-key crytography feasible?

We all know about public-key cryptosystems, and we know some of these are computationally secure (for the time being, of course). Are there any algorithms out there which allow safe communication ...
3
votes
1answer
151 views

What does it mean to be simultaneously hardcore?

In this paper the term "simultaneously hardcore" is defined as: "We say that a block of bits of $x$ are simultaneously hard-core for a one-way function $f(x)$, if given $f(x)$ they cannot be ...
3
votes
1answer
132 views

What is the technical name for a public key container in DER format?

I have a public key in the following (format-neutral; the type is specified by the DER bytes) format: ...
3
votes
1answer
109 views

Generic name for (?hash) functions of form $\{0,1\}^n \rightarrow \{0,1\}^{poly(n)}$

Consider a function $$f: \{0,1\}^n \rightarrow \{0,1\}^{poly(n)} $$ with the following properties: hard to invert, i.e. given $f(x)$, hard to find $x$ hard to find a collision, i.e given $f(x)$, ...
3
votes
1answer
75 views

Private Information Retrieval with a pre-prepared database

Informally, Private Information Retrieval (PIR) is a protocol between a user $U$ and a Server $S$, that meets the following conditions: $U$ obtains enough information about a database hosted by $S$, ...
3
votes
0answers
70 views

Explanation of part of a visual cryptography algorithm

I have been working on a project involving visual cryptography and I am stuck with the following problem. My question is related to this paper, AN IMPROVED VISUAL CRYPTOGRAPHY SCHEME FOR SECRET ...
2
votes
2answers
105 views

Inconsistent terminology for ciphers and algorithms

I've been baffled by all the different kinds of names which are given to cryptographic algorithms. There are block ciphers and stream ciphers (AES and RC4). There is symmetric and asymmetric ...
2
votes
2answers
158 views

Is there a metric (term) for work required to decrypt a public key?

Any public key decryption can be decrypted given enough time and computing power. Is there a metric or term for this? Something like it would require on average 2^43 1024 bit hashes to find private ...
2
votes
4answers
76 views

Definition of the term “key”

I've looked in many places (NIST, text books, online resources) and I cannot find an answer to the definition of the term "key" from a semantic point of view. Is it the "key" to cipher-texts (i.e. ...
2
votes
1answer
512 views

What is a fair exchange scheme?

The Wikipedia entry Fair exchange has only two lines, and the only paper I can find describing such a protocol is extremely complicated. Is this a new field in cryptology or can someone give an ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Simulation-based security?

I've been reading Introduction to Modern Cryptography by Katz and Lindell as an introduction to cryptography. The book seems to use the term 'simulator' when it talks about a game like, for instance, ...
2
votes
1answer
909 views

What are rounds in the context of ciphers?

Another recent question on security margin included in its answer the discussion of how many rounds are broken so far. What is the definition of a round?
2
votes
2answers
76 views

How to calculate if probability is negligible or not

If i have probability $Q = 2C(A\times B)$ where $A$ and $B$ are unknown probabilities and $C$ is a non-negligible probability, what can i speculate about probability $Q$ and how can i calculate bounds ...
2
votes
1answer
71 views

What are the two parts of SHA1's compression function called?

SHA1's compression function has two distinct parts: one where 16 words are expanded into 80 words, and one where the 80 words are used over 80 rounds. Are there specific names or terms for each of ...
2
votes
2answers
179 views

Name for identical operations for encryption and decryption

Is there a name for the property of a cryptographic algorithm that the operations for encryption and decryption are identical, i.e. $E_k(x) = D_k(x)$ and accordingly $E_k(E_k(x)) = x$? An example ...
2
votes
1answer
142 views

Easy explanation of “IND-” security notions?

There are many schemes that can advertise themselves with certain security notions, usually IND-CPA or IND-CCA2, for example plain ElGamal has IND-CPA security but doesn't provide IND-CCA security. ...
2
votes
2answers
730 views

What are SNARKs?

What does it mean and what is it used for, I have been hearing this term a lot lately. From the context I've heard it talked about it seems to be connected with zero knowledge?
2
votes
0answers
159 views

Precise meaning of various terms related to universal hash functions

I've been reading about universal hashing, but I'm confused by all these different terms and notations. Could someone help me understand the precise meaning or relation between the following terms: ...
2
votes
0answers
162 views

Security of stream cipher based on Matrix multiplication GF(256) with randomized padding

The actual question is stated at the end of the text. Suppose you have a (grossly inefficient) confidentiality stream cipher with the following components: The keyed function ...
1
vote
1answer
68 views

The use of the term “sound” in cryptography [closed]

We often see the term "sound" in cryptography. What is the sense of this word ? Thank you.
1
vote
2answers
111 views

Are password salts equivalent to keystream?

I was reading up on keystream when I came upon the definition of it: A keystream is a stream of random or pseudorandom characters that are combined with a plaintext message to produce an encrypted ...
1
vote
1answer
599 views

In this example, which is a premaster secret, and which is a master secret?

In the context of this data, as shown in the image below, which one is a pre-master-secret and which one is a master-secret. It looks to me as if the final value of 2, for Alice and Bob is a ...
1
vote
1answer
35 views

What is the difference between a PRF and a PRF+?

What is the difference between a PRF and a PRF+? I am understanding them to mean the same thing, but I imagine that is because I don't understand their differences. The IKE RFC defines a PRF as: ...
1
vote
2answers
147 views

Attribute-based encryption for cloud storage

I'm trying to understand attribute-based encryption schemes. Almost all articles describe that they are designed for cloud storage, but as I understand, almost all computing (encryption & ...