11
votes
1answer
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 ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
11
votes
2answers
696 views

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 ...
11
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. ...
11
votes
3answers
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 ...
10
votes
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 ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

Practical disadvantages of GCM mode encryption

It seems that GCM mode encryption has a clear advantage over CBC + HMAC in the sense that it only requires a single key. But it seems that there are some experts here that do not trust it enough to ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

What stops the Multiply-With-Carry Random Number Generator from being a Cryptographically Secure Pseudo-Random Number Generator?

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 ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Any practical uses of machine learning for cryptography?

I am about to go study for my masters in machine learning, data mining and high performance computing, but have recently become very interested in cryptography after taking Dan Boneh's Cryptography ...
8
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
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 ...
8
votes
2answers
632 views

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 ...
7
votes
1answer
369 views

Importance of block size in CBC mode

Why is it necessary to use a sufficiently long block size when implementing a CBC block cipher with a truly random initialization vector? In ECB mode it's easy to get information about the message if ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

AES plaintext is smaller than 128 bits - how to expand?

We are currently developing a little AES implementation in a crypto-course at university. As far as I know, AES uses a 128 bit block length, so all data that will be encrypted gets split up into ...
6
votes
2answers
558 views

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 ...
6
votes
4answers
7k views

PBKDF2 and salt

I want to ask some questions about the PBKDF2 function and generally about the password-based derivation functions. Actually we use the derivation function together with the salt to provide ...
5
votes
2answers
229 views

An electronic voting system

This semester I am taking the course Cryptography. I will have a presentation about the topic "Voting Scheme". I am preparing myself by reading from the book “Cryptography : an Introduction” by ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

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 $p$ ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

How does SafeNet MobilePASS generate passwords?

We use MobilePASS at work but the latest version of the android client seems to be buggy so I wanted to have a go at implementing the algorithm myself. You can download the client to play with here: ...
3
votes
4answers
757 views

Signature and Timestamp for Long Term Document Archival Question

I have a PDF document intended for long-term (many years, maybe decades) archival which I would like to digitally sign with my personal certificate to ensure its integrity. As far as I understand, I ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

With sufficient randomness, is XOR an acceptable mechanism for encrypting?

I have heard criticism of various cryptosystems saying that "at their heart, they were just XOR." Is this just ignorance, or is there something inherently wrong with XOR based ciphers?
16
votes
4answers
4k views

How do we know a cryptographic primitive won't fail suddenly?

It took more than a decade from when MD5 looked like it was going to break to the point when it was actually broken. That's more than a decade of warning. How can we be sure that when our ...
12
votes
1answer
496 views

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 ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Why would anyone use an elliptic curve with a cofactor > 1?

In cryptography, an elliptic curve is a group based on a finite field $GF(p^k)$; this group has $n$ elements on it, and we work on a prime-sized subgroup of size $q$. We denote the value $h = n/q$ as ...
11
votes
2answers
632 views

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 ...
9
votes
4answers
559 views

Authenticated DH, what protocols are secure?

I read about STS + variants being insecure in the SIGMA paper, which then proposes SIGMA as a replacement. Are the SIGMA variants still considered secure or are there some other protocol that's ...
9
votes
3answers
602 views

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. ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the MD5 collision with the smallest input values?

I am interested in MD5 collisions for small input messages. The collision examples given at http://www.mscs.dal.ca/~selinger/md5collision/ show two different strings, where only a tiny amount of data ...
8
votes
1answer
338 views

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 ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Should I salt an AES password at each encryption?

I saw a sample code where the same password is salted with a different value (using PBKDF2) for each encryption. That means that the salt must be stored for each encrypted message. I don't understand ...
8
votes
1answer
756 views

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 ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

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 ...
8
votes
4answers
683 views

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 ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

With OpenSSL and ECDHE, how to show the actual curve being used?

Using openssl s_client -host myserver.net -port 443 I can see the cipher negotiated is indeed using ECDHE for session key ...
7
votes
1answer
608 views

Why does a broken hash function undermine an HMAC?

For instance, what makes MD4 a bad choice for an HMAC? In this case I am asking about MD4 because its less than ideal. I know that a preimage attack can be used to undermine the system, but why? ...
6
votes
3answers
562 views

Rainbow table for DES with all-zero plaintext?

Consider the function $F$ from $\{0,1\}^{56}$ to $\{0,1\}^{64}$, mapping the operative bits of a DES key to the ciphertext for all-zero plaintext. How could we organize a rainbow table to invert that ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

Can you explain “weak keys” for DES?

A weak key for DES is a key $K$ such that $DES_{k_1}(DES_{k_2}(x))=x$ for all $x$. I don't get why are the 4 keys $k_1||k_2$: $1^{112}$, $0^{112}$, $0^{56}||1^{56}$, $1^{56}||0^{56}$ considered as ...
6
votes
2answers
403 views

Is SHA-1 still practically secure under specific scenarios?

It is conjectured that SHA-1 has been broken from the "research" perspective but no in real world. That is that there is an algebraic attack that explores weaknesses on its algebraic construction. The ...
6
votes
2answers
6k views

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 ...
6
votes
4answers
513 views

Does MD5 generate 128 independent bits?

I heard that there are 128 stochastically independent bits in an MD5 output. Is that true? If so, are there any citations or proofs for that?
5
votes
1answer
305 views

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 ...
5
votes
1answer
460 views

Given a private RSA key, how do we get the public key?

Is it possible to pre-choose a private RSA key, then obtain a public key from it?
5
votes
4answers
5k views

How does one calculate the scalar multiplication on elliptic curves?

I found this example online: In the elliptic curve group defined by $$y^2 = x^3 + 9x + 17 \quad \text{over } \mathbb{F}_{23},$$ what is the discrete logarithm $k$ of $Q = (4,5)$ to the base ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

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?
5
votes
4answers
780 views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
331 views

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
932 views

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

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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