# All Questions

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### Why do new versions of TLS use an explicit IV for CBC suites?

SSL 3.0 and TLS 1.0 used an insecure scheme to generate implicit IVs when encrypting records in CBC mode: they used the last part of the previous record, a value that can be predicted by the attacker. ...
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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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### How to communicate by email with forward secrecy and deniability?

My correspondents and I would like to communicate privately by email. We used to employ PGP but that might have been shooting ourselves in the foot. PGP doesn't have forward secrecy. If any of our ...
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### Deriving Keys for Symmetric Encryption and Authentication

So here's the concept. Rather than storing 2 keys and using a random IV, which presents its own problems (key rotation, ensuring no key is used in more than 2^32 cycles, sharing the keys, etc), is it ...
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### Are NIST's changes to Keccak/SHA-3 problematic?

NIST is working on standardizing SHA-3. They have selected Keccak as the basis for SHA-3, and they plan to make some small changes to it; the result (with NIST's changes) will be standardized as SHA-...
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### Can someone explain the ECB Penguin?

I've seen the ECB Penguin used to demonstrate why ECB is not a recommended method of encryption, but I do not understand how this translates to text or passwords. Aren't the people who create these ...
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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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### 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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### How can a random salt for a hash function work in practice?

I understand the theory behind the use salts in hash functions, but when I see it implemented, the implementations always generate the salt on the fly and the salt appears to be different for every ...
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### Why xor is a linear operation but ordinary adding is not

I'm new in cryptography and try to read some articles in this field. Many of these articles talk about non-linear S-boxes, and nothing more on what they mean by their non-linearity. I have a simple ...
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### NIST Diffie-Hellman prime: how was it picked? Where did it come from?

According to this Matasano Crypto challenge, the NIST "likes" the following prime modulus, which appears to be expressed in hexadecimal: ...
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### Why is OCB-AES mode not becoming a standard for authenticated encryption?

The OCB mode of authenticated encryption (used for example with AES) is the fastest way to provide authenticity and confidentiality without having to strive into questions like: Encrypt then MAC, MAC ...
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### ElGamal with elliptic curves

I've searched some information on ECC, but so far I have only found Diffie-Hellman key-exchange implementations using ECC, but I don't want to exchange keys, I want to encrypt & decrypt data like ...
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### Is CBC really dead?

I developed a p2p-app in C# which sends and receives encrypted text messages (50KB). For encryption, my app uses AES 128 bit in CBC cipher mode. For each message it uses a new randomly-generated IV. ...
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### Is digest=HASH(HASH(a)+HASH(b)) equivalent to publishing two digests?

Is combining digests (created using a hash function) using arithmetic addition, and then hashing and publishing the result, less secure than publishing the set of digests? Does the answer change if ...
2k views

### Is there any more information on this RSA backdoor?

Someone posted this on reddit a few days ago, and I haven't found much about it except for links back to the same page. Here's the article http://programmingpraxis.com/2016/01/19/rsa-encryption-...
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### Are AES-256's related-key weaknesses exploitable if it is used to build a hash?

Assume it is made a hash based on AES-256 encryption (perhaps because this is hardware-accelerated, but no standard hash is); and it is used the Merkle–Damgård structure, that is padding of the ...
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### What is a Non-Interactive Zero Knowledge Proof?

I understand the concept of a Zero Knowledge Proof thanks to the easy to understand analogy of Alibaba's cave. However, this seems to require interaction between the verifier and the other party. I ...
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### Is it safe to seed a random number generator from system time?

It seemed to me that the Bouncy Castle SecureRandom class for C#/.NET only uses DateTime.Now.Ticks as its seed by default. I ...
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### Does the elliptic curve (EC) cryptosystem outperform RSA and DL cryptosystems?

Throughout the literature, it is stated that EC cryptosystems outperform RSA and Discrete logarithm cryptosystems, but I cannot understand how ECC would be more efficient than RSA and DL in terms of ...
6k views

### Are there practical upper limits of RSA key lengths?

Suppose one wanted to use RSA encryption for the sole purpose of sending key bits for use in symmetric crypto systems, a dedicated key exchange system so to speak. And say you didn't think that the ...
13k views

### How is XOR used for encryption?

I am a programmer, so when I hear XOR, I think about the bitwise operator (e.g. 0110 ^ 1110 = 1000). The mention of "XOR" comes ...
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### Is it possible to validate a Public Key in RSA?

If I have a 1024-bit number, and someone is telling me that it is in fact a valid RSA public key, is there any way I can quickly validate that it is indeed so (without cracking RSA)? (I suppose I am ...
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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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### Password entropy much lower than entropy of encryption keys. Why is this acceptable?

When talking symmetric encryption, a 56 bit key is known to be so weak. If you use it for your encryption, you are considered a goner. When talking passwords however, the standard these days is ...
6k views

### 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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### Is HMAC-MD5 considered secure for authenticating encrypted data?

I've read something to the effect that the HMAC construct is able to lessen the problem of collisions in the underlying hash. Does that mean that something like HMAC-MD5 still might be considered ...
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### Difference between Rijndael 128 / 256 blocksize implementations? (and impact of block size in general)

Can anyone shed some light onto the advantages/disadvantages of using Rijndael with 256-bit block size, as opposed to the 128-bit (AES) implementation? (please note: I'm not referring to key-size here)...
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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 ...
3k views

### 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 is the P-521 elliptic curve not in Suite B if AES-256 is?

In the NSA's document, "The Case for Elliptic Curve Cryptography" (archived), we have ...
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### Why choose an authenticated encryption mode instead of a separate MAC?

What are cryptographic reasons to choose an authenticated-encryption mode of operation (such as GCM) over a traditional encryption mode plus an independent MAC, or vice versa? Assume there is no ...
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### What stops the Multiply-With-Carry RNG from being a Cryptographically Secure PRNG?

Despite the fact that Marsaglia's MWC PRNG (multiply-with-carry random number generator) is considered to be "the mother of all RNGs", it does not seem to be considered to be a CSPRNG (...
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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 ...
2k 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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### 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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### Is GCM still recommended?

I stumbled across a forum thread where a security researcher seemed to have negative feelings towards GCM. I had always thought from prior readings that GCM was the current gold standard for efficient,...
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### Assuming a 1024qb quantum computer, how long to brute force 1024bit RSA, 256bit AES and 512bit SHA512

Assuming in the future there was a functioning 1024 qubit quantum supercomputer and it could run Shor's algorithm or Grover's algorithm to crack encryption very quickly. I'm interested in how the ...
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### Attacks of the MAC construction $\mathcal{H}(m||k)$ for common hashes $\mathcal{H}$?

Consider a common practically-collision-resistant hash function $\mathcal{H}$ (e.g. SHA-1, SHA-256, SHA-512, RIPEMD-160), perhaps based on the Merkle–Damgård construction as are the first three. We ...
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### What tests can I do to ensure my PRNG is working correctly?

In the past I have used the Chi-squared test to check the statistical randomness of my generator. Is this a good test to use? Are there other tests?
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### Why is RSA encryption key based on modulo $\varphi(n)$ rather than modulo $n$?

While calculating RSA encryption key we take modulo $\varphi(n)$ rather than modulo $n$. I can’t understand why it’s done this way.
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### Known methods for constant time (table-free) AES implementation using 'standard' operations?

There are several known methods for implementing AES in constant time using SIMD operations, mostly based around fast byte shuffling (for instance Hamburg and Kasper/Schwabe). Are there any similar ...
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### Do key collisions for symmetric ciphers exist?

I'm not sure if I'm calling the thing (key collisions) correctly, and that's probably why I couldn't find any information about it on Google. Still, my question is as follows. Note that I don't work ...
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### Can you create a strong blockcipher with small blocksize, given a strong blockcipher of conventional blocksize?

Suppose I want a strong 20-bit blockcipher. In other words, I want a function that takes a key (suppose the key is 128 bits), and implements a permutation from 20 bits to 20 bits. The set of ...
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### Why do we append the length of the message in SHA-1 pre-processing?

As we know, SHA-1 is irreversible, so why do we append the length of the message to the preimage?
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### Does AES have any fixed-points?

Is there any pair of 128-bit strings M and K such that AES$_K$(M) = M? If yes, how do I go about (efficiently) finding such a pair?
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### Unpredictability of X.509 serial numbers

About X.509 certificates serial numbers the RFC 5280 says: The serial number MUST be a positive integer assigned by the CA to each certificate. It MUST be unique for each certificate issued by a ...
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### Why do block ciphers need a non-linear component (like an S-box)?

Why is there a requirement of "Non-Linear functions" as a component of many popular block ciphers (e.g. the S-box in DES or 3DES)? How does it make the cipher more secure? The only intuition I have ...