# All Questions

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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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### 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 ...
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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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### Why is Diffie-Hellman considered in the context of public key cryptography?

In all textbooks I used the Diffie-Hellman key exchange is under "public key cryptography". As far as I can see it is a method to exchange a key to be used with a symmetric cryptographic algorithm, ...
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### 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, ...
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### 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 ...
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### How dead is braid based cryptography

Braid groups has drawn the attention of cryptographers for a few years, as a promising platform for post-quantum cryptographic protocols. The security of the proposed schemes mostly relied on ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### Choice of multiplication polynomial in Rijndael s-box affine mapping

The Rijndael specification details the design choices for the s-box in section 7.2. They describe the choice of affine mapping as follows: We have chosen an affine mapping that has a very simple ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### Is it feasible to build a stream cipher from a cryptographic hash function?

A few years ago I devised a symmetric-key system that worked like so: ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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.
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### 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?
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### 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 ...
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### 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 $d$ ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### Why is CRC said to be linear?

It is commonly understood that CRC satisfies the linear identity with respect to the $\oplus$ (XOR) operation: $\operatorname{CRC}(a) \oplus \operatorname{CRC}(b) = \operatorname{CRC}(a \oplus b)$ ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### Why is asymmetric cryptography bad for huge data?

I've been told that asymmetric cryptography requires that the message to be encrypted be smaller than its key length. Why is this? I know about hybrid encryption, which uses symmetric encryption to ...
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### What are the benefits of lattice based cryptography?

Previously we visited the benefits of elliptic curves for cryptography. Lattice based cryptography is starting to become quite popular in academia. The primary benefit of lattice based crypto is the ...
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### How does a padding oracle attack work?

I am unsure of how a padding oracle attack works. What I am not getting is how changing one bit at one time allows one to exploit(get keys) ASP.NET machines. Can anyone explain this?
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### Do parts of a hash carry the properties of the entire hash?

When I need to generate unique id's based on some information hashing is typical choice. However, sometimes that id needs to be of a particular size. I've seen a lot of schemes (HMAC-MD5-96 in SSH, ...
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### 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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### 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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### 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 ...
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### Why do we use XTS over CTR for disk encryption?

I'm taking Prof. Boneh's crypto class from Coursera, and am unsure on the requirement for XTS mode for disk encryption. It seems that CTR mode would do exactly what XTS can do, but is simpler to ...
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### How random are commercial TRNGS

I'm thinking about buying a USB TRNG. How do I evaluate its randomness? I'm sure some are better than others but which is which? Are thermal-noise better than radio-noise TRNGs?
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### McEliece Cryptosystem Implementations

Are there any current implementations (language irrelevant) of the McEliece Cryptosystem? I have been hunting around all day, and yet, have only found a few mathematical equations pertaining to the ...
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### How do I construct a 256-bit hash function from 128-bit AES?

I would like to generate a 256-bit hash on a microcontroller that has a 128-bit (only) AES engine. How can I construct a 256-bit hash function from a 128-bit cipher?
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### Does Curve25519 only provide 112 bit security?

In a recent mail on the IETF CFRG mailing list it was claimed that: The (currently missing) security considerations (or somewhere) should describe why Curve25519 is ok when used in contexts where ...
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### Predicting values from a Linear Congruential Generator

I have learnt that Linear Congruential Random Number Generators are not cryptographically secure - my understanding is that given an LCG of the form: ...
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### 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 ...
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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 ...
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### ElGamal: Multiplicative cyclic group and key generation

Here on the ElGamal wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ElGamal_encryption Alice generates an efficient description of a multiplicative cyclic group G, of order q, with generator g. How ...
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### Strength of multiple hash iterations?

Is it correct that increasing the iteration possibly decreases the cipher strength but increases the amount of time it would take to find the original hash values if using brute-force on a given hash? ...