# All Questions

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### With sufficient randomness, is XOR an acceptable mechanism for encrypting?

I have heard criticism of various cryptosystems saying that "at their heart, they were just XOR." Is this just ignorance, or is there something inherently wrong with XOR based ciphers?
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### What differentiates a password hash from a cryptographic hash besides speed?

I understand that password hashes like bcrypt have the principal property of taking a long time to run, but I'm wondering what if anything about password hashes make them superior to merely running a ...
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### Why would anyone use an elliptic curve with a cofactor > 1?

In cryptography, an elliptic curve is a group based on a finite field $GF(p^k)$; this group has $n$ elements on it, and we work on a prime-sized subgroup of size $q$. We denote the value $h = n/q$ as ...
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### Is 80 bits of key size considered safe against brute force attacks?

I came across KATAN Family of Ciphers for small domain input blocks . They cipher arbitrary block lengths 32,48,64 but their key size 80 bits only. Is 80 bits of key size considered safe with ...
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### Does unbalancing a feistel cipher always improve security? Does it improve security at all?

So according to Wikipedia unbalanced feistel ciphers provide greater provable security. Specifically, they state: The Thorp shuffle is an extreme case of an unbalanced Feistel cipher in which one ...
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### Do recent announcements about solving the DLP in $GF(2^{6120})$ apply to schemes proposed for cryptographic use?

A recent paper by Göloğlu, Granger, McGuire, and Zumbrägel: Solving a 6120-bit DLP on a Desktop Computer seems to "demonstrate a practical DLP break in the finite field of $2^{6120}$ elements, using ...
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### Edwards / Montgomery ECC with Weierstrass Implementation?

So let's assume I want to perform Ed448 or Ed25519 digital signatures or want to perform a DH key-exchange. Assume further that those curves (Curve448 or Curve25519) are required. But the problem is, ...
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### 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 ...
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### Why are the lower 3 bits of curve25519/ed25519 secret keys cleared during creation?

I am currently experimenting with ed25519 and I noticed that on secret key creation, bit 254 is always set and the lower 3 bits are always cleared. I found that bit 254 is always set to protect ...
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### Counter mode secure hash algorithm

Ever since the SHA-3 competition, I've been wondering if it is possible to create a hash algorithm that is easier to parallelize. The current algorithms all seem to require building a tree of hashes. ...
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### Is key size the only barrier to the adoption of the McEliece cryptosystem, or is it considered broken/potentially vulnerable?

A recent paper showed that the McEliece cryptosystem is not, unlike RSA and other cryptosystems, weakened as drastically by quantum computing because strong Fourier sampling cannot solve the hidden ...
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### Can Grover's algorithm be parallelized?

Using a quantum computer, Grover's algorithm can search an unordered list of length $N$ in time $\sqrt{N}$. Applied to cryptography this means that it can recover $n$ bit keys and find preimages for ...
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### Why Victor must not know which tunnel Peggy chooses?

In the classic description of Zero Knowledge Proof of Knowledge, Victor must wait outside the entrance to the cave while Peggy goes to the fork and choose a side. It's only once Peggy has entered a ...
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### Authenticated DH, what protocols are secure?

I read about STS + variants being insecure in the SIGMA paper, which then proposes SIGMA as a replacement. Are the SIGMA variants still considered secure or are there some other protocol that's ...
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### 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? ...
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### 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 ...
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### With OpenSSL and ECDHE, how to show the actual curve being used?

Using openssl s_client -host myserver.net -port 443 I can see the cipher negotiated is indeed using ECDHE for session key ...
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### Alice trusts Bob only when Bob trusts Alice

some story first: Alice and Bob both have public/private key pairs. Now Bob wants Alice to sign his public key id. Alice agrees but only when Bob signs the public key id of her. Is this something ...
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### Should I salt an AES password at each encryption?

I saw a sample code where the same password is salted with a different value (using PBKDF2) for each encryption. That means that the salt must be stored for each encrypted message. I don't understand ...
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### Use of salt to hash a password

In a few implementations of hashed passwords, I have seen that the length of the random salt is chosen to be, say, 10 or "some constant". Is there any specific reason why the salt is chosen to have a ...
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### Change Salt when Changing Password?

Assume a password storage scheme using a computationally-expensive hash algorithm and a CSPRNG salt. User ID, salt, and hash value are stored in a table; if the table is compromised, all three ...
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### Is SHA-1 still practically secure under specific scenarios?

It is conjectured that SHA-1 has been broken from the "research" perspective but no in real world. That is that there is an algebraic attack that explores weaknesses on its algebraic construction. The ...
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### Does a trace of SSL packets provide a proof of data authenticity?

I'm wondering if it would make sense to record a whole HTTPS session, publish its encryption keys and present it to third parties as a proof that this particular data was sent by a given server ...
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### Rijndael vs. Serpent vs. Twofish: General comparison

Can anyone explain (or give a link to document about) why Rijndaal won the AES, especially comparing it to other finalists (Serpent and Twofish)? What criteria were used to make decision? Or is there ...
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### Rainbow table for DES with all-zero plaintext?

Consider the function $F$ from $\{0,1\}^{56}$ to $\{0,1\}^{64}$, mapping the operative bits of a DES key to the ciphertext for all-zero plaintext. How could we organize a rainbow table to invert that ...
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### Description of signatures with message recovery (as in ISO/IEC 9796-2 and EMV Signatures)

I'd like to get an overview of how the signatures with message recovery work, especially in case EMV and other smart card systems. Is there a nice overview available without being required to read the ...
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### Secure degree reduction for Shamir's secret sharing

I understand the basic Shamir Secret Sharing protocol, and when two shares are multiplied, the degree of the polynomial increases. I've seen in a number of papers a reference to a degree reduction ...
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### How do I test my encryption? (absolute amateur)

I am a hobby programmer with a background in biology and have developed an encryption program based on DNA. I tried to make it hard to crack, but it's essentially a substitution cipher and uses the ...
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### How does a “Tiger Tree Hash” handle data whose size isn't a power of two?

Constructing a hash tree is simple enough if the data fits into a number of blocks that is a power of two. ...
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### Does MD5 generate 128 independent bits?

I heard that there are 128 stochastically independent bits in an MD5 output. Is that true? If so, are there any citations or proofs for that?
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### Are there any long term RC4 bias based exploits?

The RC4 cipher possibly exhibits low level bias in it's long run PRNG keystream. I'm specifically excluding short term bias attacks which I'm defining as outputs < 1024 bytes. Are there any real ...
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### Can we proxy-re-encrypt using homomorphic encryption schemes?

Homomorphic encryption schemes are PKE schemes with an additional special method Evaluate. The Evaluate method takes input any function (as boolean circuit) and encrypted inputs of the function and ...
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### Given a private RSA key, how do we get the public key?

Is it possible to pre-choose a private RSA key, then obtain a public key from it?
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### What are the constraints for an IV using AES in CBC mode?

I'm designing a protocol for use into a VPN software. The VPN frames are encapsulated into AES-256 CBC encrypted frames. I understand that IVs must be uniquely used for each message encrypted with ...
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### How many keys does the Playfair Cipher have?

I was just studying the Playfair cipher and from what I've understood, it is just a slightly better version of a Caesar cipher, in that it isn't actually mono-alphabetic but rather the 'digrams' are ...
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### Encryption algorithm that produces dummy output on incorrect passwords

Background: I've been thinking about using encryption in the context of backing up files to untrusted locations (to the point of making the file publicly and widely distributed for practically ...
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### Timing attack on modular exponentiation

It is known that computing $a^x \bmod N$ takes $O(|x| + \mathrm{pop}(x))$ multiplications modulo $N$, where $|x|$ is the number of bits of $x$ and $\mathrm{pop}(x)$ is the number of $1$ bits (Hamming ...
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### Are RSA signatures deterministic?

If I sign the word HELLO with the mechanism "NONEwithRSA" with the same private key, do I always will have the same signature? A Java example always return ...
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### Is ECB mode secure if plaintexts guaranteed to be unique?

I've got a scenario where I need to encrypt many small (16-byte) plaintexts. I want to use AES-128 in ECB mode. Notably, each plaintext is guaranteed to be unique, though each may differ by only a few ...
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### Feedback on rolling my own entropy gatherer

First of all, I don't recommend doing this. This was something I created when I didn't know better and didn't have a solution available to me. Long ago I created my own entropy gather for a ...
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Let $G$ be a cyclic multiplicative group of order $n$. Let $g$ be a (public) generator of $G$. The Diffie-Hellman (DH) problem asks: Given $g^x, g^y\in G$ for $x, y\in \mathbb{Z}^*_n$, to compute ...
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### What happens when a root CA has its private key compromised?

What happens when a root CA has its private key compromised? Then all children in the tree are compromised too? And then all certificates are compromised? What needs to happen then? Related: - How ...
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### RSA key pair generation using PRNG with same seed

I see a lot of Q/A where persons are trying to generate a specific key pair using static data such as a password. Now say we use a known PRNG (dangerous assumption), seeded with a the data as a static ...
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### Why are these specific values used to initialise the hash buffer in SHA-512?

I'm reading the book Network Security Essentials written by William Stallings. To create a message digest with SHA-512, we have to go through some steps: append padding bits. append length ...
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### How do I generate a session key using the Diffie Hellman algorithm?

How to generate a session key between two nodes in two different subnets when the nodes don't know each other directly, using diffie hellman algorithm?
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### Proving the semantic security of the One Time pad

Currently hearing a lecture on cryptography, and the professor gave us the definition of semantic security, which is roughly the following (formally not quite complete, but you get the idea): ...
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### Is there an oblivious decryption scheme?

Alice has $K$; Bob has $E(K, m)$; Is there such a scheme that enables Alice decrypts $E(K, m)$ without knowing $m$, and Bob gets $m$ ?
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### What is the meaning of “trapdoor” in cryptography?

I do not really understand the meaning of a "trapdoor" in cryptography, so here are my questions: What is the meaning of trapdoor and how can I convert a word or string using a trapdoor in ...