# All Questions

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### Entropy when iterating cryptographic hash functions

Consider a cryptographic hash function that maps $n$-bit strings to $n$-bit strings:  \DeclareMathOperator{\H}{H} \DeclareMathOperator{\SHA}{SHA-256} \H(x) : \left\{0,1\right\}^{n} \mapsto ...
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### Where does the $\varphi(n)$ part of RSA come from?

$e d \equiv 1 \pmod{\varphi(n)}$ Where does the $\varphi(n)$ part come from? How did the inventors of RSA arrive at $\varphi(n)$?
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### What are the requirements of a nonce?

Sometimes I read that a nonce has to be a random number but I disagree. A nonce just can't repeat itself. You could increase in by 1 every time if you are sure it would never repeat.
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### RSA blind signatures in practice

Hi I have a problem with moving my blind signature implementation from educational (textbook RSA) to more practical (padded RSA) side. David Chaums paper gives a following figure: $r$ - blinding ...
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### Are there any standards of multi-prime RSA key generation?

FIPS 186-3 specifies a method to generate DSA parameters. Is there anything similar (official standard or widely-accepted recommendation) that shows how to generate the primes for multi-prime RSA?
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### Is quantum key distribution safe against MITM attacks too?

i read this recently: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12786-quantum-cryptography-to-protect-swiss-election.html and some parts of this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_key_distribution ...
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### How were the number of rounds for different key sizes of AES selected?

The number of AES rounds increases with the key length. Why increase the number of rounds at all, and how were these round counts chosen?
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### How were the AES key and block length subsets of Rijndael selected?

My intuition tells me it's a trade off between speed and security, but how did the standardisation process select these three seemingly arbitrary key lengths (namely, AES-128, AES-192, AES-256).
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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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### What are the standard procedures in cryptanalysis to analyze unknown ciphertext?

What are the "standard procedures in cryptanalysis" to analyze unknown ciphertext? In other words: Are there any protocols, officially acknowledged checklists or something like that which represent a ...
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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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### 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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### 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 $p$ ...
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### Message authentication codes construction

I was reading the paper $[1]$ and came across the scheme that I show below. While I understand the scheme well, I don't understand why they prepend a 0 to the block containing $r$ and a 1 to all other ...
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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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### Calculating the inverse modularity of the determinant for Hill cipher

I'm trying to decrypt a message encrypted with Hill Cipher, but I don't understand how to find the determinant so it solves the equation $det * 1/det = 1 mod 26$. The determinant for my key matrix is ...
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### Does encrypting twice using the same block cipher produce a security weakness?

If I use the output of a cipher, for example a block cipher such as AES and encrypt it again with the same algorithm, I read that this introduces weaknesses into the overall security of the system. ...
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### Symmetric vs. Asymmetric cryptographic approaches to data security

I know the basic differences between Symmetric vs. Asymmetric cryptography, but I'd love to know more details: Exactly why is the asymmetric approach slower than the symmetric? Why does it make ...
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### Combining multiple symmetric encryption algorithms - implications?

I was just wondering if I add more security by combining two or more symmetric encryptions on a plain text. For example: Plaintext → AES → Twofish → Serpent Of ...
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### Double Encrypting with two different keys

In terms of security, would it be MORE or LESS secure to take, say, an RC4 output (or Serpent) or other, that is encrypted with one key, and to encrypt that output with AES (using a different key)? ...
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### How to solve MixColumns

I can't really understand MixColumns in Advanced Encryption Standard, can anyone help me how to do this? I found some topic in the internet about MixColumns, but I still have a lot of question to ...
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### Is the CBC weakness in XML Encryption a new discovery? Are other applications vulnerable?

The RUB in Germany reports that XML encryption is broken. This is essentially the W3C standard for protecting XML documents from prying eyes. Does this mean that an attacker can only see a single ...
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### About Cryptography in a Character Language

Suppose I had a message in Chinese (or another non-phonetic language) and I wanted to encipher it. Some of the simplest encryptions in English are substitution ciphers, but such ciphers don't seem ...
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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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### 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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### 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 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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### 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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### Elliptic Curves of different forms

Looking at http://safecurves.cr.yp.to/ to find a safe curve, I find that most curves described here are of a different form from that generally used. In Bouncy Caslte, for example, ...
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### How do you find a cheater in Shamir Secret Sharing?

If there are 4 people involved, and every two of them should be able to know the secret (the polynomial is just a line) and you are given f(x) and x for each of those people, and you know one of them ...
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### Measuring entropy for a ciphertext only attack

When bruteforcing a password (e.g. the common attacks on DES), where you have ciphertext only, you need a way to assess whether a decrypted plaintext is the right one. I believe the EFF DES machine ...
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### Necessity for finite field arithmetic and the prime number p in Shamir's Secret Sharing Scheme

Shamir's original paper (PDF, 197kb) describing a threshold secret sharing scheme states: To make this claim more precise, we use modular arithmetic instead of real arithmetic. The set of ...
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### Related-key attacks on AES

According to Wikipedia: Related-key attacks can break AES-192 and AES-256 with complexities $2^{176}$ and $2^{99.5}$, respectively. What are the requirements for these attacks (i.e how many ...
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### How can I improve a password generation scheme based on a shared secret and URL?

I currently use the following method to generate a different password on every website I have to login: password = SHA1 ( mainPassword . domainName . number ) ...
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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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### Why are the initial states of hashes functions (like SHA-1) often non-zero?

There is already a question asking "Why initialize SHA1 with specific buffer?" and my question follows on from this: Why are the initial states of hash functions often non-zero? For most, I have ...
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### Why have hashes when you have MACs?

It would seem to a naive eye that if you have a MAC, you have a hash function: use a key that all the parties know (such as all-bits-zero). A potential application would be a resource-constrained ...
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### Will varying plaintext compensate for a fixed initialisation vector?

This is a follow-up question to Relative merits of AES ECB and CBC modes for securing data at rest. I need to store encrypted Personal Account Numbers (PANs) in a database. The only encryption option ...
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### Relative merits of AES ECB and CBC modes for securing data at rest

I need to store several million Payment Card Numbers (PCNs) securely in a mainframe database (that is, 'at rest'). I assume that any attacker will have access to all of the stored data. I assume the ...
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### Why does SRP-6a use k = H(N, g) instead of the k = 3 in SRP-6?

I've been reading up on the Secure Remote Pasword protocol (SRP). There are a couple different versions of the protocol (the original published version being designated SRP-3, with two subsequent ...
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### Understanding CRC

There are zillions of articles describing CRC. What can I read to (more deeply) understand what's really going on? Both from an algebraic perspective and a bit-manipulation perspective, I'd like to ...
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### Security of RSA for paranoids with padding?

RSA for Paranoids (RSAP) (in cryptobytes v3n1), also known as Unbalanced RSA, is a variant of RSA proposed in 1995 by Adi Shamir, as a mean to increase the RSA public modulus size while keeping ...
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### What is a tweakable block cipher?

Pretty simple question - but I can't seem to find much information about it. What exactly is a tweakable block cipher? How do they differ from traditional block ciphers? What is the 'tweak'? Is it ...
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### How many bits of hash are realistically needed for key verification?

Say I'm connecting to a web server secured with TLS but with a self-signed certificate. Accordingly, I call the owners of the server and ask them what SHA1 fingerprint they have. They start reading ...
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### Constructing a block-cipher from a hash function

It is possible to use a hash function to construct a block cipher with a structure similar to DES? Because a hash function is one way and a block cipher must be reversible (to decrypt), how is it ...
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### Why are elliptic curve variants of RSA “chiefly of academic interest”?

Yesterday I was thinking about elliptic curve variants of popular protocols/algorithms (ECDH, ECES[1], etc) and the thought occured that I had never seen an elliptic curve variant of RSA. My ...
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### A fair peer-based coin-flipping protocol?

I found this question on the game programming site and was intrigued. I came up with an answer off the top of my head but I'm no cryptanalyst so it is probably not water-tight. This is how my idea ...
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### Why not use CTR with a randomized IV?

I'm currently reading the chapter of Cryptographic Engineering (Ferguson, Schneier, Kohno 2010) about block cipher modes of operation. They have recommended CBC with random IV instead of CTR due to ...