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75

I'm assuming you actually know all of this better than I do... anyway, this paper neatly summarises all these approaches and what level of security they do or don't provide. I shall paraphrase it in English, rather than Mathematical notation, as I understand it, here: Encrypt-then-MAC: Provides integrity of Ciphertext. Assuming the MAC shared secret has ...


44

@Ninefingers answers the question quite well; I just want to add a few details. Encrypt-then-MAC is the mode which is recommended by most researchers. Mostly, it makes it easier to prove the security of the encryption part (because thanks to the MAC, a decryption engine cannot be fed with invalid ciphertexts; this yields automatic protection against chosen ...


16

This is something I tend to disagree somewhat with Colin Percival on. You should use Encrypt-then-HMAC if and only if you can get it right. The biggest pitfall is using a short-circuiting string comparison versus a constant-time string comparison. Given the former, people can use timing attacks to forge valid HMACs for arbitrary ciphertexts. With an ...


13

Hugo Krawczyk has a paper titled The Order of Encryption and Authentication for Protecting Communications (or: How Secure Is SSL?). It identifies 3 types of combining authentication (MAC) with encryption: Encrypt then Authenticate (EtA) used in IPsec; Authenticate then Encrypt (AtE) used in SSL; Encrypt and Authenticate (E&A) used in SSH. It proves ...


12

If you look closely at the definition of authenticated encryption modes, you will see they all are, actually, the combination of symmetric encryption and a MAC. Using traditional encryption and an independent MAC has a few tricky points, none of them being unsolvable: The encryption mode will use a key, and the MAC will also use a key; using the same key ...


12

Brute forcing the key would hardly be an issue: 128-bit keys (assuming they have been properly generated) are in a space which is way too large to be successfully explored by brute force; and 256-bit keys (the kind you put in AES-256) are even more larger. Whether AES is "faster" than HMAC or not does not make such brute force more feasible: even if each key ...


12

The crucial difference between plain encryption and authenticated encryption (AE) is that AE additionally provides authenticity, while plain encryption provides only confidentiality. Let's investigate in detail these two notions. In the further text, we assume $K$ to be a secret key, which is known to authorized parties, but unknown to attackers. Goals ...


11

Those "magic numbers" are related to the security proof behind the HMAC construction. In their Crypto'96 paper, Bellare, Canetti and Krawczyk first prove that $\mathrm{NMAC}_{(k_1, k_2)}(x) = F_{k_2}(F_{k_1}(x))$ forms a secure MAC ("message authentication code") provided $F_k(.)$ is an iterated and keyed compression function enjoying some good security ...


10

Because OCB is patented. And there are other good solutions for authenticated encryption that aren't patented. This makes them more suitable, in most situations. I can recommend, e.g., EAX, GCM, or CWC. EAX and GCM have been used in some standards, and AES-GCM has been standardized. For pointers where you can learn more, read Wikipedia. And try using ...


7

The paper you cite (Deterministic Authenticated-Encryption...) gives quite a bit of useful information (but I'm assuming you already knew that). It looks like a pretty good read (I'll let you know if that assumption holds after I finish it). For why simpler constructions (CBC/CTR with a MAC or even AEX mode) don't satisfy (emphasis added): A key-wrap ...


7

The original security proof of HMAC, as well as a new one not requiring collision-resistance of hash, are for the construction hash(o_key_pad ∥ hash(i_key_pad ∥ message)) with o_key_pad different from i_key_pad (and both filling a block). That's the rationale for at least one of the constant. The other plays no role, it just must be different from the first. ...


7

I'd use HKDF's "expand" step to generate multiple keys from one masterkey. Use PBKDF2 to derive that masterkey from the password and salt. i.e. replace the "extract" step of HKDF with PBKDF2. //Extract MasterKey = PBKDF2(salt, password, iterations) //Expand AES-Key = HMAC(MasterKey, "AES-Key" | 0x01) MAC-Key = HMAC(MasterKey, "MAC-Key" | 0x01) (where | ...


7

The GCM authentication tag doesn't need to be encrypted. Just attach it to the ciphertext in the clear. A very quick intuitive justification: It's an authentication tag derived from the ciphertext, it doesn't contain any sensitive information itself. The security of the GCM model assumes the tag is left in the open. (The GCM spec, SP 800-38D, shows the ...


7

Thought I'd begin with some references for you that might be of interest. These terms are used as key 'selling points' for a number of schemes, including many of the CAESAR submissions. Some examples using the terms specifically are given below - most of which are from CAESER because I have the zoo in-front of me: "Online": OCB, Ascon, CBA, APE, NORX ...


6

If you go through the math, it appears that exactly the expected amount of ciphertext expansion is happening. Here's what's happening: The GCM takes the plaintext as a byte string of size N, and generates a ciphertext which is a byte string of size N+28, where 12 of the 28 is the nonce, and the other 16 is the authentication tag. Then, that octet string ...


6

Clearly, if you had been using AES-256-CBC for confidentiality and AES-256-CBC-MAC for authentication, it would not be secure to use the same key for both confidentiality and authentication. Hence, using the same key for confidentiality and authentication cannot generally be secure; you need additional premises to arrive at that conclusion. In your case it ...


6

CRAM-MD5 is a protocol to demonstrate knowledge of a password. In the context of email, it is sometime used by an email client to authenticate to a POP, IMAP, or/and SMTP server. Basically, the password is used as the key of HMAC-MD5 in a challenge-response protocol. Among positive things there are to say about CRAM-MD5: The password is not exchanged in ...


6

The article mentions that 3-DES was used to encrypt these passwords in ECB mode. DES has a 64-bit/8-byte block. So let's say you use ECB to encrypt a nine byte password. The first 8-bytes are encrypted using ECB. So far so good. But what happens when we come to the ninth byte? Well we're now in a new block but only the first byte is populated with any ...


6

A is acting as a square-root oracle in that protocol. We can use that oracle to factor $n$ and break the scheme. Suppose you are an attacker that wants to impersonate A. You: Pick a random $m$; Send $m^2$ to A; Compute $p = \gcd(m_1 - m, n)$, thus factoring $n$. This works with probability $1/2$ for each attempt.


5

INT-CTXT and INT-PTXT are usually on considered for private-key encryption. For public-key encryption, no correct encryption scheme can satisfy those requirements. (Proof: The adversary can run the encryption algorithm on an arbitrary message and submit it as its output. Since it made no queries to its encryption oracle, this ciphertext violates both ...


5

To get non-repudiation, you must have a "proof" which can be used against the signer himself. Symmetric cryptography, by itself, will not help you there, because a cryptographic proof can only come from some "secret" which is under exclusive control of the signer, and the symmetric model assumes that there is a shared secret between two entities. The concept ...


5

The idea that cryptography alone can provide non-repudiation is a myth. I realize it is one that is taught in many crypto textbooks -- but the textbooks are wrong. See, e.g., my answer here and here. I could suggest some constructions (e.g., sign the message, append the signature to the message, then encrypt it using an authenticated encryption mode of ...


5

I don't have my Real 802.11 Security book present, so my answer is based only on what I could glean from the CCMP and CCM page on Wikipedia. As stated there, CCM is only a mode of operation providing authenticated encryption (using CTR-mode for encryption and CBC-MAC for authentication), whereas CCMP is a protocol which utilizes the CCM-mode of operation. ...


5

First, convert the string which is to be encrypted into a sequence of bytes. UTF-8 is easy enough; you may reduce the size a bit, depending on what you know on the input strings (e.g. if the strings are domain names, they are ASCII-compatible, so you need only 7 bits per character -- actually a bit less). For the rest of this post, we need to assume that the ...


5

As pointed in the question, a conservative API to authenticated encryption should only ever release authenticated plaintext on the deciphering side. Anything else is too open to attacks (padding, timing, denial of service, unamit). In a streaming API, this forces aggregation of data into blocks, each authenticated. The simplest method is fixed size ...


5

GCM mode already incorporates any params that could affect the outcome of the decryption. The associated authenticated data is there to allow you to rely on context for your decryption. For example, say you are encrypting some records associated with a user. You may want to include the user's database ID as the authenticated data. If a user found a way to ...


5

Using EAX with a 64-bit block cipher is problematic, because the short block size causes some weaknesses due to internal collisions. I do not recommend it. Use a 128-bit block cipher. Indeed, the world has moved away from 3DES and towards AES exactly because of these fundamental problems with a 64-bit block size: the internal collision effect means that, ...


5

The same key is indeed used in EAX to key both the CTR mode and the underlying OMAC (which is actually used in 3 distinct phases: randomising the CTR nonce, authenticating the Additional Authenticated Data, and authenticating the Ciphertext). This is explicitly acknowledged in the security proof. Where EAX differs from a naive reuse of the key is that it ...


5

Don't believe every claim ever made in any paper ever written, particularly when the paper provides little or no justification for the claim; not everything you read reflects the cryptographic consensus. This is particularly true for a paper written in 2002, which is a time our understanding of authenticated encryption and security engineering was still in ...


5

All looks pretty secure except for your auth key derivation. You should use a better key derivation method like HKDF instead of just SHA-512. I don't think your random nonce is doing anything in this scenario - an attacker who wants to brute-force a weak password wouldn't be slowed down by a nonce transmitted in the clear. Why not just use a ...



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