# All Questions

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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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### What to watch for with openssl generating weak keys? (low entropy)

(Disclaimer: I am regular software engineer with only basic crypto knowledge, so helpful if can be explained for a layman.) I am concerned about generating weak keys on a shared linux box with ...
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### Impacts of not using RSA exponent of 65537

This RFC says the RSA Exponent should be 65537. Why is that number recommended and what are the theoretical and practical impacts & risks of making that number higher or lower? What are the ...
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### Why is MixColumns omitted from the last round of AES?

All rounds of AES (and Rijndael) have a MixColumns step, save the last round which omits it. DES has a similar feature where the last round differs slightly. The rationale, if I recall correctly, ...
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### Using same keypair for Diffie-Hellman and signing

Are there any security risks using a single key-pair for both key-exchange and signing? I'm mainly interested in using Curve25519 for key-exchange and Ed25519 for signing. But similar combinations, ...
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### What is wrong with using SHA1 in digital signatures? Why is a robust hash function needed?

For the purposes of signing and verifying signatures, what is the value of the hash function? Why would it matter if SHA1 is later determined to be easy to break? Since a Public/Private key process ...
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### What is the ideal cipher model?

What is the ideal cipher model? What assumptions does it make about a block cipher? How does it relate to assuming that my block cipher is a pseudo-random permutation (PRP)? When is the ideal ...
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### Why did NIST remove The Lempel-Ziv Compression test from the Statistical Test Suite?

NIST removed "The Lempel-Ziv Compression" test from the Statistical Test Suite in revision 2008 and above and has not incorporated it since – see revision 2010. Why was it removed? Does it no longer ...
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### Design properties of the Rijndael finite field

So we've already had a question on replacing the Rijndael S-Box. My question is - can we use a different finite field other than the one given by $x^8 + x^4 + x^3 + x + 1$ in $GF(2^8)$. In other ...
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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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### How does HOTP keep in sync?

My understanding of HOTP is that each password is unique and based on a counter. $$PASSWORD = HOTP_1(K,C)$$ Where $C$ is an incremental counter. What I wish to know, is how you keep the client ...
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### Security of pairing-based cryptography over binary fields regarding new attacks

In the last week, the discrete logarithm problem was broken for the binary fields $\mathbb{F}_{2^{(14 \times 127)}}$ and $\mathbb{F}_{2^{(27 \times 73)}}$. Pairing-based cryptography using binary ...
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### Hardness of finding mutual discrete logarithms of small generators in $\mathbb{Z}_p$

Suppose you want to select a prime $p$ such that finding e.g. $log_2(3)$ in $\mathbb{Z}_p$ is expected to be either at least as hard as the general Discrete Logarithm Problem in $\mathbb{Z}_p$, or at ...
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### Can one generalize the Diffie-Hellman key exchange to three or more parties?

Does anyone know how to do a Diffie-Hellman or ECDH key exchange with more than two parties? I know how to do a key exchange between 2 parties, but I need to be able to have a key agreement between 3 ...
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### Using CBC with a fixed IV and a random first plaintext block

What if, instead of using CBC mode in the normal way with a random IV, I used this approach: Use a fixed IV (like a block of 0's). Before encrypting, generate a random block and prepend it to the ...
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### How can rainbow tables be used for a dictionary attack?

I'm putting together a password policy for my company. I very much want to avoid requiring complex passwords, and would much rather require length. The maximum length I can enforce is 14 characters. ...
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### Which algorithms are used to factorize large integers?

Even if RSA decided to cancel the Factoring Challenge, it seems that some teams keep working on it. According to Wikipedia, RSA-768 has been factored in late 2009. What are the current large integer ...
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### Does NTRU decrypt correctly now?

The NTRU public-key cryptosystem has a lot of interesting properties (being resistant to quantum computer attacks, being standardized by several important bodies), but it also has a pretty unique ...
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What is the disadvantage of AES-GCM mode for authenticated encryption? Why does the CAESAR competition say that it’s one of the goals to find an AE scheme that offers an advantage over AES-GCM? What ...
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### 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 ...
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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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### Are there cryptographic hash functions that can be computed using only paper and pen without leaking any information about the plaintext?

I am looking for a cryptographic hash function that can be computed by a human using only paper and pen without ever leaking any information about the plaintext on the paper. The cryptographic hash ...
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### Do I have to have a different salt for each password?

Should I use a different salt for each password? In my system, there are no user names, only passwords. When a user logins in, he types in one or more passwords and the server compares the results ...
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### At the current time, is SHA256 the de facto standard for strong cryptographic hashes?

At the current time, is SHA256 the de facto standard for strong cryptographic hashes? From what I am seeing of more sites utilizing it, I would suppose the answer to this is yes, but would like to ...
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### What is the use of REAL random number generators in cryptography?

I understand the use of pseudo-random number generators. I am not getting mixed up between these and "real" random number generators. However, I don't understand for what a real random number ...
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### “Weaknesses” in SHA-256d?

According to this answer, "SHA-256d" was proposed in one of the Ferguson/Schneier books like so: SHA-256d(x) = SHA-256(SHA-256(x)) Apparently, the motivation for ...
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### What is the effect of the different AES key lengths?

How does a changing key length affects the ciphertext, not only in case of AES, but in general? I know that the key spaces become much larger and the number of rounds in case of AES changes, but is ...
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### Do parts of a hash carry the properties of the entire hash?

When I need to generate unique id's based on some information hashing is typical choice. However, sometimes that id needs to be of a particular size. I've seen a lot of schemes (HMAC-MD5-96 in SSH, ...
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### Practical consequences of using functional encryption for software obfuscation

I came across this article, which describes a method, developed by UCLA CS professor Amit Sahai et al, for using functional encryption in order to achieve software obfuscation. The paper that the ...
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### Random oracle model proofs and programmability

Proving the security of a scheme with the random oracle model (ROM) involves two steps: first you prove that the scheme is secure in an idealized world where a random oracle exists, and then you ...
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### Is Wikipedia's table about SHA-2 collisions correct?

I was looking a Wikipedia article on SHA-2, and the "Comparison of SHA functions" table seems to indicate that SHA-2 is less secure than SHA-1. Is this true, or is the table wrong / misleading? ...
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### How do I construct a 256-bit hash function from 128-bit AES?

I would like to generate a 256-bit hash on a microcontroller that has a 128-bit (only) AES engine. How can I construct a 256-bit hash function from a 128-bit cipher?
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### What is a white-box implementation of a cryptographic algorithm?

What is a white-box implementation? Does a white-box implementation have specific properties?
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### Why use a 1-2 Oblivious Transfer instead of a 1 out of n Oblivious Transfer?

When initiating an oblivious transfer, why would someone use a 1-2 oblivious transfer rather than going for an 1 out of n oblivious transfer? Perhaps a slight time overhead for the extra message ...
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### Is using a predictable IV with CFB mode safe or not?

While writing this answer, I noted that NIST SP 800-38A says that (emphasis mine): "For the CBC and CFB modes, the IVs must be unpredictable. In particular, for any given plaintext, it must not be ...
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### What is the best way to put a backdoor in an encryption system?

How can you put a backdoor into an encryption algorithm? Are there any techniques that can be used to reduce the time it takes to break a key? I am looking for practical examples encryption schemes ...
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### How well does scrypt perform on different architectures / OSes?

The scrypt algorithm seems to be a prominent feature in the "CPU friendly" Bitcoin clones for the proof-of-labor part. I've heard claims that it's relatively slow on Windows and/or Intel compared to ...
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### Are any of the major asymmetric ciphers distinguishable (EG, RSA, ECC)?

Related to "Is it possible to derive the encryption method from encrypted text?". Given ciphertexts generated by any of the major asymmetric ciphers (RSA, ElGamal, ECC, etc..) can these ciphertexts ...
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### Security strength of RSA in relation with the modulus size

NIST SP 800-57 §5.6.1 p.62–64 specifies a correspondence between RSA modulus size $n$ and expected security strength $s$ in bits: ...
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### Compare Blockmode CBC (with diffuser) against XTS

I have some problems in understanding the "advantage" of AES-XTS compared to CBC with diffuser. I read something about FileVault, in this paper they mention the two modes of operations XTS and CBC ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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, ...
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### How to choose a padding mode with AES

Depending on the framework you are using, there are various padding modes that can be used with AES encryption. For example, with .NET we can choose PKCS7, ISO10126, ANSIX923, Zeros or None. I ...
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### What is the theoretical and practical status of mental poker?

I'm able to find a lot of scattered papers on the development of mental poker since RSA proposed the initial solution but no recent report (i.e. after 2005) on what is the status of the problem, eg: ...
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### How to break an arbitrary XOR and Rotation based encryption?

I heard encryption based purely on XOR and Rotation is inherently weak. The paper Rotational Cryptanalysis of ARX says: It is also easy to prove that omitting addition or rotation is devastating, ...
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### Proving knowledge of a preimage of a hash without disclosing it?

We consider a public hash function $H$, assumed collision-resistant and preimage-resistant (for both first and second preimage), similar in construction to SHA-1 or SHA-256. Alice discloses a value ...
I am considering attacks on Two-Key Triple-DES Encryption assuming $2^{32}$ known plaintext/ciphertext pairs (that's a mere 32 Giga Bytes of ciphertext) by the method devised by Paul C. van Oorschot ...