12
votes
3answers
39k views

Possible ways to crack simple hand ciphers

We had a quiz in class today where we had to break the ciphertext with the key given, but not the algorithm. Suffice to say that I wasn't able to decrypt it within the allotted time of 12 mins and ...
12
votes
2answers
12k 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
3answers
819 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
1answer
626 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
2answers
641 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
825 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
763 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
580 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
640 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
2answers
908 views

Is bcrypt better than GnupPG's iterated+salted hashing method?

GnuPG has slow hash built-in in form of iterated+salted S2K. Does it have disadvantages in comparance with bcrypt or scrypt? Is GnuPG's slow hash method easily automated in GPUs?
12
votes
1answer
781 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

Why do the elliptic curves recommended by NIST use 521 bits rather than 512?

Wikipedia says in reference to the elliptic curves officially recommended by NIST in FIPS 186-3: Five prime fields for certain primes p of sizes 192, 224, 256, 384, and 521 bits. For each of the ...
12
votes
2answers
17k 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 X....
12
votes
1answer
259 views

Logjam on Elliptic Curves?

I think we're all aware of the Logjam attack. From now on we know that re-using primes for DH is a bad idea. But we also say that elliptic curves are safe from the attack (relying on the NFS), ...
12
votes
1answer
729 views

Perfect Forward Secrecy with NaCl

I would like to use the NaCl cryptography library (or TweetNaCl), but I would very much like to have perfect forward secrecy for my application. From what I understand, all Bob needs to to decrypt a ...
12
votes
1answer
761 views

How to build an electro-mechanical public key cipher machine?

It is generally assumed that asymmetric encryption schemes were invented in 1973 at GCHQ in Britain and, independently, in 1976 at the MIT. Imagine, if the abstract idea of having a public key and a ...
12
votes
1answer
236 views

Edwards / Montgomery ECC with Weierstrass Implementation?

So let's assume I want to perform Ed448 or Ed25519 digital signatures or want to perform a DH key-exchange. Assume further that those curves (Curve448 or Curve25519) are required. But the problem is, ...
12
votes
1answer
451 views

Can one efficiently iterate valid bcrypt hash output values?

bcrypt is an intentionally slow hash algorithm. In my last protocol idea, I wanted to use it to expand a password and then only transfer the bcrypt-hashed password. An efficient attack on this would ...
12
votes
1answer
181 views

Structure for an introductory course on cryptography?

Many introductory courses on cryptography have their treatment of secret-key crypto start with OTP, then block ciphers, and for public-key cryptography revolve around RSA with no notion of padding (...
12
votes
1answer
442 views

Security of pairing-based cryptography over binary fields regarding new attacks

In the last week, the discrete logarithm problem was broken for the binary fields $\mathbb{F}_{2^{(14 \times 127)}}$ and $\mathbb{F}_{2^{(27 \times 73)}}$. Pairing-based cryptography using binary ...
12
votes
2answers
807 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 $...
11
votes
8answers
3k views

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 ...
11
votes
10answers
3k views

Are there any advantages in using proprietary encryption?

Proprietary software generally relies on the fact that in keeping the encryption algorithm private, it gets an extra layer of security implying "Security through Obscurity." Obviously this phrase has ...
11
votes
5answers
8k views

What is the difference between CSPRNG and PRNG?

What is the difference between CSPRNG and PRNG? Is there performance differential between them? For example: We use PRNG for key generation which is very expensive and CSPRNG for IV/nonce in block ...
11
votes
4answers
836 views

Should DES be avoided when developing new systems?

According to wikipedia… DES is now considered to be insecure for many applications However, since it can be broken relatively easy, should it not just be avoided for all applications?
11
votes
4answers
1k views

RSA & DH at risk due to math advances, will this eventually affect elliptic curves too?

I was looking into the predictions by some researchers that RSA and Diffie-Hellman may not be secure in the next few years due to advances in math and being able to calculate the discrete logarithm ...
11
votes
3answers
7k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
3k views

Which algorithms are used to factorize large integers?

Even if RSA decided to cancel the Factoring Challenge, it seems that some teams keep working on it. According to Wikipedia, RSA-768 has been factored in late 2009. What are the current large integer ...
11
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 ...
11
votes
2answers
2k 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.
11
votes
2answers
12k views

What is the difference between MAC and HMAC?

In reference to this question, what are the "stronger security properties" that HMAC provides over MAC. I got that MAC requires an IV whereas HMAC doesn't. I also understood that MAC may reveal ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

Can two different pairs of RSA key have the same modulus?

Can $n=pq$ be part of two different pairs of RSA keys? If such keys exist, say $(e_1,n)$ and $(e_2,n)$, how are they related? What will be the security concerns for the two users?
11
votes
4answers
386 views

Tactics available to help prove security of a new system?

I believe that the accepted tactic to "prove" a system as secure is to allow the crypto-community to review it and if no vulnerabilities are found over a long period of time (5 or 6 years), then a new ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

RSA encryption using multiplication

Generally in RSA we encrypt as $m^e \pmod n$. Will RSA work if we replace the power by normal multiplication? $E = (m \times e) \mod n$ and decryption as $c \times d \mod n$. What will be $d$ ...
11
votes
1answer
14k views

What is Attribute Based Encryption?

Can someone explain what attribute based encryption is? I was searching for a book or something that can help me in this regard but so far I have found none. Google also returns practically nothing ...
11
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
5k views

What is the most secure hand cipher?

By "hand cipher", I mean a symmetric cipher for which encryption and decryption can can both be performed with a pencil on graph paper, consuming about 10-20 seconds per character by a proficient user....
11
votes
2answers
1k views

What is a hard-core predicate?

I read this article on Wikipedia: Hard-core predicate. Still I don't understand what exactly is a hard-core predicate. Is it possible to put this in simple English terminology, and perhaps with a ...
11
votes
2answers
891 views

Why is CRC said to be linear?

It is commonly understood that CRC satisfies the linear identity with respect to the $\oplus$ (XOR) operation: $\operatorname{CRC}(a) \oplus \operatorname{CRC}(b) = \operatorname{CRC}(a \oplus b)$ ...
11
votes
3answers
894 views

How to construct a good PRF from a block cipher?

We want to explicitly construct a good (as tentatively defined below) Pseudo-Random Function $F$ with $b$-bit input and output, from (preferably just) one Pseudo-Random Permutation $E$ of $b$-bit, as ...
11
votes
2answers
701 views

Do I have to have a different salt for each password?

Should I use a different salt for each password? In my system, there are no user names, only passwords. When a user logins in, he types in one or more passwords and the server compares the results ...
11
votes
2answers
15k views

How can Cipher Block Chaining (CBC) in SSL be attacked?

I am trying to understand how CBC-mode in SSL/TLS can be attacked. I have been looking around online but all examples and explanations are very hard to understand and follow. Can you give a simple ...
11
votes
4answers
17k views

Why is padding used for RSA encryption given that it is not a block cipher?

In AES we use some padded bytes at end of message to fit 128/256 byte blocks. But as RSA is not a block cipher why is padding used? Can the message size be any byte length (is the encrypting agent ...
11
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Why can an elliptic curve private key be 1?

I often see in papers (e.g. this one) that for an elliptic curve with generator point $G$ and order $n$ the private key $d$ can take on any integer value in the range $[1, n)$. When $d = 1$ the ...

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