# All Questions

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### Why is the P-521 elliptic curve not in Suite B if AES-256 is?

In the NSA's document, "The Case for Elliptic Curve Cryptography" (archived), we have ...
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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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### 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.
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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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### Why was the winner of the AES competition not a Feistel cipher?

The winner of the AES competition has a structure that does not qualify as a Feistel cipher, as explained in answers to this recent question. However, most many of the AES candidates, and all 3 out ...
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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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### Using SHA-256 with different initial hash value

FIPS 180-3 defines the initial hash value for SHA-256 as the first 32 bits of the fractional parts of the square roots of the first 8 primes 2..19. What would be the risks of using a different value ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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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### Encryption scheme for social-network-like data sharing data via untrusted server?

I am thinking quite a lot lately abut the problem of secure, privacy-preserving social networking. Distributing the network among trusted, preferably self-hosted servers (like Diaspora, GNU Social ...
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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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### Terminology: differences between the terms “pre-master secret”, “master secret”, “private key”, and “shared secret”?

Both crypto.SE and security.SE have excellent Q&As about how TLS generates session keys (I have linked some at the bottom). In reading these threads I'm having troubles with terminology since the ...
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### Windows 8/Server 2012: Passes FIPS-140-2 despite failing AES-GCM for IV != 96 bits long?

Background Microsoft certifies Windows 7/8 as well as Server 2008 R2 and 2012 to be FIPS-140-2 compliant. Actually they certify just a small crypto core, bcrypt.dll (the library, which is unrelated ...
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### 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 ...
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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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