# All Questions

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### How were the DES S-box values determined?

It seems like the S-boxes in DES have essentially random values. How were these chosen?
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### What is the post-quantum cryptography alternative to Diffie-Hellman?

Post-quantum cryptography concentrates on cryptographic algorithms that remain secure in the face of large scale quantum computers. In general, the main focus seems to be on public-key encryption ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### What's the fundamental difference between Diffie-Hellman and RSA?

What is the difference in the purpose of DH and RSA? Aren't they both public-key encryption?
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### How does a chosen plaintext attack on RSA work?

How can one run a chosen plaintext attack on RSA? If I can send some plaintexts and get the ciphertexts, how can I find a relation between them which helps me to crack another ciphertext?
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### How robust is discrete logarithm in $GF(2^n)$?

"Normal" discrete logarithm based cryptosystems (DSA, Diffie-Hellman, ElGamal) work in the finite field of integers modulo a big prime p. However, there exist other finite fields out there, in ...
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### Why is the salt used only once in PBKDF2, while the password is used often?

The purpose of PBKDF2 is to create a derived key (DK) from a master password (PW) and a salt, often using a function like HMAC-SHA256. I have read that the salt should be as random as possible. But ...
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### Who first published the interest of more than two prime factors in RSA?

Multi-prime RSA is now a well known technique: it uses $k>2$ distinct secret prime factors in the public RSA modulus, with the advantage that, using the CRT, we can gain a speed boost in ...
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### How does RSA signature verification work?

I understand how the RSA algorithm works for encryption and decryption purposes but I don't get how signing is done. Here's what I (think) I know and is common practice: If I have a message that I ...
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### How can one securely generate an asymmetric key pair from a short passphrase?

Background info: I am planning on making a filehost with which one can encrypt and upload files. To protect the data against any form of hacking, I'd like not to know the encryption key ($K$) used for ...
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 ...
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### What are the advantages of TOTP over HOTP?

HMAC-based One Time Password (HOTP) was published as an informational IETF RFC 4226 in December 2005. In May, 2011, Time-based One-time Password Algorithm (TOTP) officially became RFC 6238. What ...
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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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### 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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### 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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### 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 ...
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### Is there any strong enough pen-and-paper or mind cipher?

Some ciphers are talked about at “Is there a secure cryptosystem that can be performed mentally?”, but (at the time of writing) I don't see an answer. Are they strong enough, or are non-computer ...
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### Is Truecrypt's multiple/cascading encryption safe?

Is Truecrypt use of cascading encryption safe? Is it useful? Truecrypt is arguably one of the most popular and widely used encryption applications in use today, yet it seems to use a very ...
1k views

### Webcam random number generator

I have a question about random number generators. I have read from a real random number generator, based on a webcam ("randcam"). My problem is, that I do not really understand how the generation of ...
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### How does order-preserving encryption work?

Order-preserving encryption (OPE) is, apparently, a method of encrypting data so that it's possible to make efficient inequality comparisons on the encrypted items without decrypting them. I've been ...
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### Difference between stream cipher and block cipher

A typical stream cipher encrypts plaintext one byte at a time, although a stream cipher may be designed to operate on one bit at a time or on units larger than a byte at a time. A block cipher ...
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### Any efficient text-based steganographic schemes?

While there are sophisticated and efficient steganographic schemes with images as cover available, I am yet ignorant of the existence of any fairly efficient and secure schemes with texts as cover. ...
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### Is there a “brainwallet” for GPG keys? [closed]

“Brainwallet” is a program that takes a passphrase (hopefully a good one) and deterministically creates a Bitcoin wallet. This wallet can be used for transactions, then deleted from the computer. To ...
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### How secure would HMAC-SHA3 be?

It would be possible to implement the HMAC construction with (draft) SHA-3, leading to HMAC-SHA3-224, HMAC-SHA3-256, HMAC-SHA3-384, HMAC-SHA3-512 (the last 3 digits are the output size $\ell$, where ...
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### What exactly is a negligible (and non-negligible) function?

The mathematical definition of neglible and non-neglible functions is fairly clear-cut, but why they are important and how they are used in cryptography?
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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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### 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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### Why is TLS susceptible to protocol downgrade attacks?

A recent blog post from Ivan Ristić (expert extraordinaire on all things SSL) says: all major browsers are susceptible to protocol downgrade attacks; an active MITM can simulate failure conditions ...
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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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### Why is CBC with predictable IV considered insecure against CPA

I just learned that using CBC encryption with an IV which is predictable is not secure. From what I understand, using certain plain texts, and then guessing the IV that is uses, the attacker can ...
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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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### 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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### How realistic is a dictionary attack on a secure remote password protocol (SRP) verifier?

I'm deploying a secure remote password protocol implementation and I'm wondering what the consequences are when the client generated verifier gets leaked to an attacker. I've read Thomas Wu's paper ...
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### What is the purpose of using different hash functions for the leaves and internals of a hash tree?

I just learned that the THEX hash tree specification which is widely used in P2P requires that two different hash functions be used: one for the leaf nodes (hashes of input data) and one for the ...
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### Will repeated rounds of SHA-512 provide random numbers?

If I hash a keyword with SHA-512 and then feed the output as the key for the next round ....and keep repeating this process, will I gather a stream of random numbers?
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### Which risks are associated with deriving multiple keys from the same DH secret Z?

NIST recommends Krawczyk's HMAC-based key derivation function (HKDF) in SP-800-56C (PDF). HKDF shall e.g. be used to create keys from shared secrets after Diffie Hellman key establishment. NIST ...
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### Proof that lottery does not know outcome of draw

Could a variable participant lottery system cryptographically prove that they have zero knowledge of the outcome of a draw? Participants do not choose numbers in this lottery and winning numbers are ...
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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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### Cryptographic system with double keys with reversible order

While reading Shamir, Rivest and Adleman's paper on "Mental Poker", I've met a mention of system such that $E_a(E_b(x)) = E_b(E_a(x))$, without however disclosing details on it, with $E_a(x)$ being ...
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### Elliptic curve cryptography related key attacks

This question is an extension of Families of public/private keys in elliptic curve cryptography As described above, bitcoin "type 2" deterministic wallets use a root private/public key pair, where ...
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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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### What is the relation between Discrete Log, Computational Diffie-Hellman and Decisional Diffie-Hellman?

How are the three problems Discrete Logarithm, Computational Diffie-Hellman and Decisional Diffie-Hellman related? From my understanding, since the Discrete Log (DL) Problem is considered hard, then ...
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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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### 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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### What makes RSA secure by using prime numbers?

I am just learning about the RSA algorithm. Looking at the first two steps: Choose two distinct prime numbers $p$ and $q$. Compute $n = pq$. I have some probably stupid questions: Why do $p$ ...
Consider the following protocol: Bob has a private RSA key $B_{priv}$, and Alice knows the public key $B_{pub}$. Alice wants to send confidential messages to Bob (no integrity intended). To send a ...