93
votes
6answers
14k 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 ...
64
votes
3answers
18k views

Should we trust the NIST-recommended ECC parameters?

Recent articles in the media, based upon Snowden documents, have suggested that the NSA has actively tried to enable surveillance by embedding weaknesses in commercially-deployed technology -- ...
63
votes
15answers
5k views

Time Capsule cryptography?

Does there exist any cryptographic algorithm which encrypts data in such a way that it can only be decrypted after a certain period of time? The only idea that I can think of, is something like this: ...
58
votes
8answers
19k views

How is CipherCloud doing homomorphic encryption?

Much of the literature and latest papers suggest that homomorphic encryption is still not practical yet. How is CipherCloud able to achieve this? Does anyone have an idea? Their website does not ...
57
votes
10answers
4k views

Is modern encryption needlessly complicated?

RSA, DES, AES, etc. all use (relatively) complicated mathematics to encrypt some message with some key. For each of these methods, there have been several documented vulnerabilities found over the ...
53
votes
3answers
32k views

Why is elliptic curve cryptography not widely used, compared to RSA?

I recently ran across elliptic curve crypto-systems: An Introduction to the Theory of Elliptic Curves (Brown University) Elliptic Curve Cryptography (Wikipedia) Performance analysis of identity ...
49
votes
5answers
24k views

Technical feasibility of decrypting https by replacing the computer's PRNG

Intel has an on-chip RdRand function which supposedly bypasses the normally used entropy pool for /dev/urandom and directly injects output. Now rumors are going on that Intel works together with the ...
40
votes
5answers
8k views

How much would it cost in U.S. dollars to brute force a 256 bit key in a year?

I am often told that any key can be broken and that it is only a matter of time and resources for any key to be broken. I know that this it technically true. However, I think that there is probably a ...
40
votes
7answers
3k views

Guarding against cryptanalytic breakthroughs: combining multiple hash functions

Assume I want to design a protocol (or data format or similar) including some cryptographic hash, and want it to be as future-proof as possible, i.e. I want to avoid that breakthroughs in cryptography ...
34
votes
6answers
12k views

Who uses Dual_EC_DRBG?

Recent news articles have suggested that the NSA may be involved in trying to influence the cryptography in public standards or commercially deployed software, to enable the NSA to decrypt the ...
30
votes
2answers
3k views

What makes a hash function good for password hashing?

Using a cryptographic hash to store e.g. passwords in a database is considered good practice (as opposed to storing them plaintext), but is subject to attacks on said cryptographic hash, assuming the ...
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?
29
votes
4answers
7k views

Is AES-256 weaker than 192 and 128 bit versions?

From a paper (via Schenier on Security's Another AES Attack) (emphasis mine): In the case of AES-128, there is no known attack which is faster than the 2128 complexity of exhaustive search. ...
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
4answers
3k views

How big an RSA key is considered secure today?

I think 1024 bit RSA keys were considered secure ~5 years ago, but I assume that's not true anymore. Can 2048 or 4096 keys still be relied upon, or have we gained too much computing power in the ...
27
votes
1answer
3k views

What is the “Random Oracle Model” and why is it controversial?

What is the "Random Oracle Model"? Is it an "assumption" akin to the hardness of factoring and discrete log? Or something else? And why do some researchers have a strong distrust of this model?
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 ...
26
votes
6answers
3k views

Is there a secure cryptosystem that can be performed mentally?

I, myself, do not plan on getting into a situation where I would be unable to use a computer in order to communicate securely. However, I can think of many practical situations in which mental ...
25
votes
4answers
13k views

How can I generate large prime numbers for RSA?

What is the currently industry-standard algorithm used to generate large prime numbers to be used in RSA encryption? I'm aware that I can find any number of articles on the Internet that explain how ...
25
votes
1answer
24k views

Explaining weakness of Dual EC DRBG to wider audience?

I have an audience of senior (non-technical) executives and senior technical people who are taking the backdoor in Dual_EC_DRBG and considering it as a weakness of Elliptic curves in general. I can ...
25
votes
10answers
4k views

Now that quantum computers have been out for a while, has RSA been cracked?

D-wave systems has released a commercially viable quantum computer. This means in theory, that all asymmetric encryption algorithms — such as RSA — are now useless due to the speed at which quantum ...
24
votes
3answers
6k views

How can I use asymmetric encryption, such as RSA, to encrypt an arbitrary length of plaintext?

RSA is not designed to be used on long blocks of plaintext like a block cipher, but I need to use it to send a large message. How can I do this?
24
votes
3answers
2k views

How are primes generated for RSA?

As I understand it, the RSA algorithm is based on finding two large primes (p and q) and multiplying them. The security aspect is based on the fact that it's difficult to factor it back into p and q. ...
24
votes
1answer
2k views

Does the generator size matter in Diffie-Hellman?

For the Diffie-Hellman protocol I've heard that the generator 3 is as safe as any other generator. Yet, 32-bit or 256-bit exponents are sometimes used as generators. What is the benefit of using ...
23
votes
7answers
14k views

Taking advantage of one-time pad key reuse?

Suppose Alice wants to send encryptions (under a one-time pad) of $m_1$ and $m_2$ to Bob over a public channel. Alice and Bob have a shared key $k$; however, both messages are the same length as the ...
23
votes
5answers
7k views

Is Convergent Encryption really secure?

Recently a company called Bitcasa demonstrated a product of cloud storage. they indicated that they would use "Convergent Encryption" to secure your data and de-duplicate, essentially one copy of the ...
22
votes
1answer
2k views

Could one prevent double spending in decentralized digital currencies (like Bitcoin) without all transactions being public?

A recent approach to creating a decentralized online currency, called Bitcoin, has been generating some interest. The goal is to have a way to transfer currency without a central authority and without ...
21
votes
7answers
12k views

Google is using RC4, but isn't RC4 considered unsafe?

Why is Google using RC4 for their HTTPS/SSL? $ openssl s_client -connect www.google.com:443 | grep "Cipher is" New, TLSv1/SSLv3, Cipher is RC4-SHA Isn't RC4 ...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

Information leakage from the ecryptfs filesystem

I'm wondering what information might be leaked from the ecryptfs filesystem. This is what Ubuntu uses if you check the box for "encrypted home directory" when using the desktop installer, so is ...
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 ...
21
votes
3answers
1k views

Is this password migration strategy secure?

I want to upgrade the security of some existing databases of users' authentication tokens strictly for the purpose of making sure that if the database is stolen, attackers will not be able to guess ...
21
votes
0answers
694 views

How is the MD2 hash function S-table constructed from Pi?

For fun, I'm learning more about cryptography and hashing. I'm implementing the MD2 hash function following RFC 1319 (http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc1319). I'll preface by saying I know there are ...
19
votes
4answers
12k 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?
19
votes
4answers
555 views

Necessity of Randomness of Salts?

Given the desire to have unique salts for each user of your system, is it actually necessary to create a cryptographically-random salt for each user? If your system already has some other unique user ...
19
votes
1answer
3k views

No SHA-1 Collision? Yet SHA1 is broken?

Is there a known pair of distinct bit strings (A,B) such that SHA1(A) == SHA1(B)? If the answer is no than how can SHA1 be considered broken?
19
votes
2answers
4k views

“SHA-256” vs “any 256 bits of SHA-512”, which is more secure?

In terms of security strength, Is there any difference in using the SHA-256 algorithm vs using any random 256 bits of the output of the SHA-512 algorithm? Similarly, what is the security difference ...
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 ...
18
votes
3answers
1k views

Cryptographic Challenge: How to Say Something Confidentially to Snowden?

The Snowden situation raises an intereting cryptograpic problem. At present, how can something be sent confidentially to Snowden? Claim: I have no particular political orientation. The above ...
18
votes
3answers
4k views

Is it possible to derive the encryption method from encrypted text?

Is it possible to identify the encryption method, or at least rule out some of them, by looking at the encrypted text? For example, if you have 3 encrypted strings where the first 10 characters are ...
18
votes
3answers
5k views

Why is public-key encryption so much less efficient than secret-key encryption?

I'm currently reading Cryptography Engineering. After giving a high level explanation of the difference between secret-key encryption and public-key encryption, the book says: So why do we bother ...
18
votes
4answers
1k views

How to fairly select a random number for a game without trusting a third party?

Several people are playing a game with random events and require a way to produce a random number. (Such as dice rolls or a lottery.) Can this be done such that each player has the power to be ...
18
votes
1answer
605 views

What security authorities and standards reject $e=3$ in RSA, when, and with what rationale?

In RSA, some security authorities and/or standards allow the public exponent $e=3$, others require or recommend $e>2^{16}$ (or perhaps some other minimum). I gathered the following: PKCS#1 allows ...
18
votes
3answers
3k views

Is there a simple hash function that one can compute without a computer?

I am looking for a hash function that is computable by hand (in reasonable time). The function should be at least a little bit secure: There should be no trivial way to find a collision (by hand). For ...
18
votes
1answer
731 views

Selective format-compliant JPEG encryption?

I am working towards building a format-compliant encryption system for pictures. The aim of it is to be able to obscure specific areas of a picture (i.e. faces, car license numbers...) while keeping ...
17
votes
4answers
9k views

Best way to reduce chance of hash collisions: Multiple hashes, or larger hash?

I would like to maintain a list of unique data blocks (up to 1MiB in size), using the SHA-256 hash of the block as the key in the index. Obviously there is a chance of hash collisions, so what is the ...
17
votes
6answers
298 views

advances in usability for cryptography/authentication

I'm wondering if there have been any recent advances (say, the past 5-10 years) in human usability for cryptography and/or authentication? By that I mean something that makes it easier for an ...
17
votes
6answers
9k views

How does asymmetric encryption work?

I've always been interested in encryption but I have never found a good explanation (beginners explanation) of how encryption with public key and decryption with private key works. How does it ...
17
votes
5answers
1k views

What is the lowest level of mathematics required in order to understand how encryption algorithms work?

What mathematical fields of knowledge would be required in order to get a good understanding of encryption algorithms? Is it basic algebra, or is there a "higher education" mathematical field ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

How were the DES S-box values determined?

It seems like the S-boxes in DES have essentially random values. How were these chosen?
17
votes
2answers
15k views

How does one attack a two-time pad (i.e. one time pad with key reuse)?

My question might appear the same as the question Taking advantage of one-time pad key reuse?, but actually I did read all the answers and none of them helped me with the details I need. I am new to ...

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