13
votes
6answers
8k views

Simply put, what does “perfect secrecy” mean?

I would like to ask for a clear (but maybe not so deep) explanation of what the term "perfect secrecy" means. As far as I have researched and understood, it has to do with probabilities of assuming ...
13
votes
1answer
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 ...
13
votes
1answer
3k views

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 ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

What's the difference between a Key Derivation Function and a Password-Hash?

It seems to me that anything that was sufficiently good as a KDF would work just fine as a password hash, though the reverse might not be true. Are there considerations specific to password-hashing ...
13
votes
1answer
8k views

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 ...
13
votes
1answer
910 views

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: ...
13
votes
5answers
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, ...
13
votes
3answers
903 views

What exactly is the impact of the hidden subgroup problem on cryptography?

I understand my group theory (allegedly), so I can make partial sense of The Hidden Subgroup problem: Given a group $G$, a subgroup $H \leq G$, and a set $X$, we say a function $f : G \Rightarrow ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

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, ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

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 ...
13
votes
1answer
187 views

How is “post-quantum security” proven/shown?

Due to growing concerns over the threat of quantum computing to asymmetric cryptography (RSA, ECC, etc), a number of "quantum resistant" replacements have been proposed (SPHINCS, McBits, and many ...
13
votes
3answers
346 views

Why is Poly1305 popular given its 'sudden death' properties?

ECDSA has the undesirable property that if a key pair reuses a nonce in a signing operation, the cryptosystem experiences catastrophic failure in the form of private key leakage. I've heard this ...
12
votes
5answers
6k views

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 ...
12
votes
6answers
1k views

Why does PBKDF2 xor the iterations of the hash function together?

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 ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

If you hashed a hash an infinite number of times would you end up with a unique hash?

If you took a hashing algorithm for example MD5 and repeatedly passed the output hash back into the algorithm an arbitrarily large number of times would you eventually end up with one unique hash? My ...
12
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
12
votes
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 ...
12
votes
1answer
5k views

Why do all SSH-RSA Keys begin with “AAAAB3NzaC1yc”?

My Friend and I have been generating a few ssh2-rsa keys and noticed that all the public keys began with "AAAAB3NzaC1yc". The similarity extended to "AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABIwAAAQEA" between two keys I ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

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. ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

How long will my encryption remain private?

This is a basic question in cryptography but I have not found a good, comprehensive answer. It is explained that our keys should expire and we should get new, stronger ones with time, reflecting more ...
12
votes
1answer
10k views

Why is triple-DES using three different keys vulnerable to a meet-in-the-middle-attack?

Among other sources, this wikipedia entry states that triple DES using three seperate keys (k1, k2, k3) is vulnerable to meet-in-the-middle-attacks, while triple DES using only two keys (k1, k2, k1) ...
12
votes
2answers
819 views

Is it possible to utilize an AES-128 encryption hardware unit for AES-256?

There exist processors (for example ARM v8/v9 archicteture based), which cannot do AES-256 hardware based, but are equipped with AES-128 encryption hardware units. Is it possible to utilize an ...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

Why is the IV passed in the clear when it can be easily encrypted?

The initialization vector (IV) is exclusive or'd against the plain text before encryption for the first block sent in order to prevent an attacker from learning that duplicate message blocks are being ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

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 ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

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 ...
12
votes
2answers
5k views

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 ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

Why initialize SHA1 with specific buffer?

SHA-1 is initialize with a specific buffer: h0 = 0x67452301 h1 = 0xEFCDAB89 h2 = 0x98BADCFE h3 = 0x10325476 h4 = 0xC3D2E1F0? Why?
12
votes
4answers
7k views

Is secp256r1 more secure than secp256k1?

Curves secp256r1 and secp256k1 are both examples of two elliptic curves used in various asymmetric cryptography. Googling for these shows most of the top results are Bitcoin related. I've heard the ...
12
votes
2answers
8k views

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 ...
12
votes
2answers
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 ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

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 ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

“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 ...
12
votes
2answers
11k views

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 ...
12
votes
1answer
4k views

Why is it insecure to use a randomized IV for CBC-MAC instead of an all-zero IV?

A fixed length CBC-MAC uses an all-zero block as the initialization vector. Suppose that we used a randomized IV instead, and sent the IV along with the tag. So if the message $m$ will be $m = b_1 || ...
12
votes
2answers
4k views

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 ...
12
votes
1answer
578 views

RSA with probable primes

I am a bit of a newbie to RSA encryption, so please be patient. I understand that for a 4096 bit RSA, the numbers p and q should be prime. And to have the best security, the p and q should both be ...
12
votes
3answers
689 views

Where do I securely store the key for a system where the source is visible?

I have a customer with an Access database (ugh!) in which credit cards are stored in plaintext (yikes!), so amongst other changes I'm doing in the app, I'm applying some encryption in there. I've ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

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 ...
12
votes
3answers
813 views

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 ...
12
votes
2answers
638 views

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 ...
12
votes
1answer
821 views

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? ...
12
votes
3answers
8k views

How does one calculate a primitive root for Diffie-Hellman?

In the Diffie-Hellman key exchange, one of the steps involves calculating a primitive root of a prime number $p$. How would one go about doing so, considering that $p$ could be very large? Is there ...
12
votes
1answer
751 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
5k views

Why do we need special key-wrap algorithms?

Wikipedia says: Key Wrap constructions are a class of symmetric encryption algorithms designed to encapsulate (encrypt) cryptographic key material. We are using these algorithms to encrypt ...
12
votes
2answers
573 views

Why is there an enormous difference between SAT solvers?

SAT solvers are very important in algebraic attacks, for example walksat and minisat. However, when solving the benchmark problems available here there is an enormous performance difference between ...
12
votes
2answers
630 views

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 ...
12
votes
1answer
773 views

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 ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

ECDSA Compressed public key point back to uncompressed public key point

From the ECDH demo here, if I generate a private key for Alice I can get _ P = 1175846487558108474218546536054752289210804601041 Which gives the following public ...
12
votes
2answers
16k views

Difference between “Signature Algorithm” and “Signature Hash Algorithm” in X.509

What's the difference between the "Signature Algorithm" and the "Signature Hash Algorithm" found in an X.509 certificate? Why does it need a "Signature Hash Algorithm"? Edit: I'm creating the ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

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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