# All Questions

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### Should I delete cryptographic data from memory?

When dealing with cryptographic data, is there a chance that attacker recovers portion of data I used in my program? Should I try to delete every bit of keys and encrypted data that I used, overwrite ...
3k views

### Where can I begin to study the math behind modern cryptography?

Why do I start the word buffers in MD5 with those values specifically? What in the world motivated the decision to use the numbers 1, 1, 2, 3 for the mix columns stagein AES? And what kind of ...
1k 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?
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### Can CBC ciphertext be decrypted if the key is known, but the IV not?

Let's say that there is a binary file encrypted with AES in CBC mode (i.e. using a key and initialization vector). If key is known, but IV is not, is it easy to fully decrypt the file? How hard is ...
3k 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 ...
3k views

### What is the difference between a stream cipher and a one-time-pad?

A (synchronous) stream cipher is an algorithm which maps some fixed-length key to an arbitrary-length key-stream (i.e. a sequence of bits): $C : \{0,1\}^k \to \{0,1\}^{\infty}$. This key-stream is ...
755 views

### UMAC: to what extent is it in use today?

Inspired slightly by the Encrypt-then-MAC question. The most obvious message authentication code is probably HMAC or RFC 2104 which is basically a hash of the input, an xor with a key... you get the ...
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### Can we ensure the security of a crypto-algorithm and -implementaton against acoustic cryptanalysis?

Like people always say: “Attacks only get worse…” — which is why I'm asking early. I have been reading the paper “RSA Key Extraction via Low-Bandwidth Acoustic Cryptanalysis” published December 18, ...
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### How hard is to invert the function that computes the middle-bits of (x^2)?

I'm designing a function f that should be moderately hard to invert and very fast to evaluate in a modern CPU. The function will be used in a proof-of-work function. I've read that the middle-bits of ...
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### Is it reasonable to assure that p-1 and q-1 aren't smooth?

I came across the requirement that, in RSA, $p-1$ and $q-1$ shouldn't be smooth, shouldn't consist of lots of small factors. Therefore my question: How complicated is it to check whether $p-1$ is ...
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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 ...
9k 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 ...
916 views

### How exactly was the finalist chosen in the NIST AES competition?

I was just reading the Stick Figure Guide to AES and came across an interesting table explaining how the winner was chosen: Unfortunately the NIST site is down so I can't gain further information ...
2k 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 ...
540 views

### Is it possible to actually verify a “sponge function” security claim?

When using a “sponge function” to create a cryptographic hash, we can look at the flat sponge claim, which flattens the claimed success probabilities of all attacks using a single parameter: the ...
865 views

### Is a small size block cipher usable?

Consider a block cipher with a key of size 128 bits but a small block size, say 32 bits. Is this kind of block cipher secure? I would like to know to what extent I can use a small block cipher, like ...
6k views

### How strong is the ECDSA algorithm?

Some cryptographic algorithms are as strong as the size of their key is, while other have some weaknesses that limit their strength (such as SHA-1). How strong is the ECDSA algorithm, and does that ...
3k views

### Is it possible to validate a Public Key in RSA?

If I have a 1024-bit number, and someone is telling me that it is in fact a valid RSA public key, is there any way I can quickly validate that it is indeed so (without cracking RSA)? (I suppose I am ...
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### 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. ...
2k views

### Are there any Secp256k1 ECDSA test examples available?

Are there any available test cases for testing elliptic curves like secp256k1 (Korblitz curves from http://www.secg.org/collateral/sec2_final.pdf)? For curves like P192 there are for example those ...
1k views

### Salting when encrypting?

I was attending a database encryption session at a developers conference. The presenter (who was a published author on the subject) said that MS SQL Server did not support salted hashes in the ...
663 views

### 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, ...
2k views

### Diffie-Hellman: choosing wrong generator “g” parameter and its implications of practical attacks

In traditional DH one chooses two shared parameters: a large prime "p" and base "g", which is primitive root mod "p". Suppose generation algorithm is broken and "g" generates only a subgroup (group ...
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### Does chaining random number generators lead to loss of randomness?

Assume you chain random number generators, i.e use the result of one PRNG as the seed for the next. What kind of errors can that introduce in the randomness of the numbers generated?
3k views

### Is HMAC-MD5 considered secure?

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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### Why does the PKCS1 RSA private key structure contain more than just exponent and modulus?

The ASN.1 spec for the PKCS1 RSA private key format is as follows: ...
1k views

### 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 ...
3k 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 ...
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### 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 ...
416 views

### How to choose constants in a cryptographic function?

A number of cryptographic functions have constants built in. For example, the constants used in RFC 2104 for HMAC, or the constants used in s-boxes (e.g., DES and AES), or MD5. In general, how are ...
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### Why would you expect to find a collision in a hash function after approximately $\sqrt{n}$ hashes?

I can't get an intuitive understanding of why it's $2^{(\frac{n}{2})}$ and not $2^n$, where $n$ is the number of bits of which the key consists.
563 views

### How exactly does key whitening manage to increase security?

Wikipedia states that key whitening increases security: In cryptography, key whitening is a technique intended to increase the security of an iterated block cipher. It consists of steps that ...
754 views

### What is wrong with AES-CTR-HMAC-SHA256 - or why is it not in TLS?

It seems the only specified CTR mode ciphers in TLS are all GCM based. GCM ciphers run AES-CTR and do authenticated encryption with a MAC based on Galois-field ...
506 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 ...
557 views

### What does “running in polynomial time” really mean?

I'm currently learning private-key cryptography. I've been able to see that perfect secrecy is achievable if no assumption is made about the computational power of the attacker. However, perfect ...
1k 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 ...
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### How does the index of coincidence work in the Kasiki test?

I'm starting to learn about cryptanalysis and I am having a bit of difficulty understanding the Kasiski test's index of coincidence. I have a book (Cryptography Theory And Practice by Douglas Stinson) ...
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### Why does HOTP use such a complex truncate function?

In the HOTP protocol after calculating a 20 byte hash it is truncated to 4 bytes. For this first an offset is calculated (low-order 4 bits of the last byte) which determines the four bytes to be ...
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### Replacing the Rijndael S-Box?

The Rijndael S-Box design generates a permutation cycle of type $2+27+59+81+87$. What effect would replacing that permutation with a cycle of type $256$ have on the security of AES?
591 views

### Efficient Incremental Updates to Large Merkle Tree

I have a data set with 300 Million entries and every 5 minutes 4000 random entries in this table change. I need to calculate the merkle root on this data set to validate integrity multiple times ...
550 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 ...
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### ElGamal Signature Scheme: Recovering the key when reusing randomness

Show how if Alice uses the same value of $k$ to sign two different messages $m_1$ and $m_2$, using the ElGamal signature scheme, Eve can recover the value of $a$ from the corresponding signatures ...
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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 ...
395 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 ...
266 views

### Definition of “pepper” in hash functions

I am confused about the notion of "pepper" in the context of storing hashes of users' passwords. Definition 1: A pepper is a secret key Looking around the Internet, for example here or here, a ...
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 ...
267 views

### What is the origin of the word “Keccak”?

Where does the word or acronym Keccak come from? Guido Bertoni, Joan Daemen, Michael Peeters, and Gilles Van Assche. Keccak sponge function family main document. Submission to NIST (updated), 2009. ...
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### How would one crack a weak but unknown encryption protocol?

I asked a question on security.stackexchange, but was told it would be a better fit here: http://security.stackexchange.com/questions/32779/how-would-one-crack-a-weak-but-unknown-encryption-protocol ...