# All Questions

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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 ...
1k views

### How does the MOV attack work?

What exactly is the MOV attack, how does it actually work, and what is it used for? It's explained briefly here and I'd like to know what it is more / what is it fully used for.
8k views

### How does a chosen ciphertext attack work, with a simple example?

Can someone please explain - using a simple example - how a chosen ciphertext attack works?
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### 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 ...
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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 difference between PRG, PRF, and PRP

Until what I have gotten is: A PRG is generator is a part of PRF that produces pseudo-random values for the function. PRF is semantically secure and has no worries of being invertible. Fine, then ...
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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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### 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 ...
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### Is HMAC-DRBG or Hash-DRBG stronger?

Out of the two deterministic random bit generators defined in section 10.1 of NIST SP 800-90A (i.e. based on hash functions), which one is cryptographically stronger? Hash-DRBG (Section 10.1.1) ...
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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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### 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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### 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 ...
2k views

### 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 ...
2k views

### 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 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 ...
605 views

### Compressing EC private keys

For reasonable security, EC private keys are typically 256-bits. Shorter EC private keys are not sufficiently secure. However, shorter symmetric keys (128-bits, for example) are comparably secure. I ...
786 views

### Security of N bit HMAC

Lets say that I am using 128 bit HMAC. How many operations are needed to find a "non secure" message. Is a birthday attack possible?
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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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### How Brittle Are LCG-Cracking Techniques?

There are published techniques for cracking LCGs, but to my eye those techniques seem very brittle — very minor changes can add nonlinearity that renders techniques like the LLL algorithm unusable. ...
2k views

### Three-way hash collision

According to the birthday paradox we need approximately $O(|T|^{1/2})$ samples from the tag-space to find a collision for a hash function $h:K\times M \to T$. But how many samples are needed to find a ...
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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 ...
1k views

### 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, ...
2k views

### Technical details of attack on Android bitcoin usage of SecureRandom

Reports are surfacing that Android's Java SecureRandom class has issues and isn't totally secure. A specific example of how this issue translates to applications is bitcoin, where reports are stating ...
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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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### 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 ...
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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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### Duration for attacking Two-Key Triple-DES Encryption using all RAM ever built?

I am considering attacks on Two-Key Triple-DES Encryption assuming $2^{32}$ known plaintext/ciphertext pairs (that's a mere 32MiB of ciphertext) by the method devised by Paul C. van Oorschot and ...
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### Choice of multiplication polynomial in Rijndael s-box affine mapping

The Rijndael specification details the design choices for the s-box in section 7.2. They describe the choice of affine mapping as follows: We have chosen an affine mapping that has a very simple ...
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### Would it be secure to use random numbers from random.org in a cryptographic solution?

Random.org provides true random numbers through an unsecured web service. Since these numbers would be transmitted in plaintext could they still be considered useful as true random numbers while ...
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### Galois fields in cryptography

I don't really understand Galois fields, but I've noticed they're used a lot in crypto. I tried to read into them, but quickly got lost in the mess of heiroglyphs and alien terms. I understand they're ...
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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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The definition of PBKDF2 states that I obtain a derived key (1) by calling a pseudorandom function a bunch of times recursively: $U_1 = PRF(password, salt)$ $U_2 = PRF(password, U_1)$ … $U_n ... 3answers 869 views ### Entropy of two concatenated random values In this Intel blog posting, the author claims: The amount of work required to brute-force predict a random value that has n bits of entropy is$O(2^n)$. If you concatenate two values together, the ... 4answers 2k views ### Is compressing data prior to encryption necessary to reduce plaintext redundancy? As explained in William Stallings' Book, in PGP encryption is done after compression, since it reduces redundancy. I couldn't relate encryption strength with redundancy. Could anyone explain more on ... 5answers 1k views ### Why should I make my cipher public? As I understand it, the less people know about the internals of my protocol or cipher, the more secure the protocol is. However Kerckhoffs's principle states that A cryptosystem should be secure ... 3answers 8k views ### How cryptographically secure was the original WW2 Enigma machine, from a modern viewpoint? If cryptanalysts today were to crack the original Enigma machine, “how fast” or “how easily” could they do it? What methods would they use? The original cracking was significantly helped by operator ... 3answers 5k views ### What is the relation between RSA & Fermat's little theorem? I came across this while refreshing my cryptography brain cells. From the RSA algorithm I understand that it somehow depends on the fact that, given a large number (A) it is computationally ... 3answers 2k views ### In what way is XXTEA really vulnerable? I'm looking at using the XXTEA algorithm to encrypt a small amount of data (say, less than 32KB) in the context of a software licensing algorithm. That is, we wish to make it difficult (not ... 2answers 1k views ### Why are bitwise rotations used in cryptography? Any understanding I have of cryptography stops right around the cipher level. As such, I'm just curious as to why bit shifts and moreover circular bit shift are so prevalent in cryptography. 3answers 647 views ### Bitcoin Research I have recently been assigned to advise a student on a senior thesis in math. She has taken linear algebra, introductory real analysis, basic cryptography, and abstract algebra. Her interest is in ... 7answers 2k views ### 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 ... 4answers 1k views ### Properties of PRNG / Hashes There are a lot of quite elaborate PRNG's out there (e.g. Mersenne Twister et.al.), and they have some important properties, especially when it comes to crypto applications. So, I was wondering how ... 3answers 2k views ### MIT says: mathematical theory behind encryption is wrong. What are the consequences? A friend shared with me the following link: Encryption is less secure than we thought I'm not a security expert and could understand great part the article, except the section about noise, but what I ... 2answers 805 views ### Why RSA can't handle numbers above 76? I'm going to encrypt the characters Zhu, and decrypt them using RSA. I'm using the public key$\{e, n\}$and private key$\{d, n\}$. The values of$e$,$d$and$p\$ ...

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