# Tag Info

23

Why shouldn't I use ECB encryption? The main reason not to use ECB mode encryption is that it's not semantically secure — that is, merely observing ECB-encrypted ciphertext can leak information about the plaintext (even beyond its length, which all encryption schemes accepting arbitrarily long plaintexts will leak to some extent). Specifically, the ...

15

ECB and CBC are only about encryption. Most situations which call for encryption also need, at some point, integrity checks (ignoring the threat of active attackers is a common mistake). There are combined modes which do encryption and integrity simultaneously; see EAX and GCM (see also OCB, but this one has a few lingering patent issues; assuming that ...

15

For a real-world example of precisely the same ECB weakness leading to a massive password compromise, see the Adobe password database leak, as memorably illustrated in the xkcd web comic: $\hspace{83px}$ While there were several issues contributing to the scale of the compromise, one of them was that Adobe, instead of properly hashing the passwords, ...

14

Never use ECB! It is insecure. I recommend an authenticated encryption mode, like EAX or GCM. If you can't use authenticated encryption, use CBC or CTR mode encryption, and then apply a MAC (e.g., AES-CMAC or SHA1-HMAC) to the resulting ciphertext.

14

You should not use ECB mode because it will encrypt identical message blocks (i.e., the amount of data encrypted in each invocation of the block-cipher) to identical ciphertext blocks. This is a problem because it will reveal if the same messages blocks are encrypted multiple times. Wikipedia has a very nice illustration of this problem.

12

It illustrates the point that the same plaintext going in to the cipher will result in the same ciphertext. It just happens to be a lot better example than showing someone abc387af de7231ab abc387af abc387af a129867e Now, what does this mean in the real world? If I gave you an email encrypted with AES-128 ECB, could you look at it and figure out the ...

10

ECB is not secure, it leaks information. CBC is better. But if you need random access to your file Use CTR mode. For more information about Block cipher modes of operation see the Wikipedia article.

10

As far as is publicly known, no, you can't. If you could, that would constitute a practical known-plaintext key recovery attack on AES, and the existence of such an attack would mean that AES would be considered totally insecure by modern cryptographic standards. If you do figure out how to do that, publish it and you'll be famous. (Or, if you'd prefer ...

9

It is not secure, because an attacker can "mix and match" the output blocks from different authentication tags on different input messages, or repeat output blocks for repeated input blocks. For example, if the attacker knows the tag $F_k(m)$ for a one-block message $m$, then it can forge the correct tag $F_k(m) \mid F_k(m)$ for the two-block message $m ... 9 ECB leaks if blocks are identical. For uniformly random data identical blocks become likely when you encrypt about$2^{n/2}$blocks with an$n$bit block cipher. CBC and CTR mode develop similar weaknesses when they encrypt that much data. => As long as you encrypt reasonable amounts (up to a petabyte or so) of random data with a 128 bit block cipher, like ... 8 DES has a block size of 8 bytes. Two blocks therefore come to 16 bytes. It looks like Adbobe were encrypting passwords using two blocks of 3-DES in ECB mode. Because all these passwords are eight bytes long, the second block is empty and is just filled with zeros. The second block gets started at all because of the string-terminating NUL character at the ... 8 The modern trend for encryption-only modes is clearly CTR, which has a number of advantages over other modes: no padding is needed (contrary to CBC); the computationally-intensive part can be efficiently performed with the IV (and key) only, before the plaintext or ciphertext is available (contrary to CBC, CFB); the computationally-intensive part can be ... 7 Yes, simply encrypting each 16-byte block with AES-128 will insure their confidentiality if they are all different, w.r.t. to an adversary that can't break AES (nitpick: given that AES is an even permutation, we should also assume that more than two plaintext/ciphertexts pairs remain unknown, but that's a practical certainty). That use of AES can be named ... 7 Yes, this is one case where ECB mode is secure. It can be shown to be secure trivially from the indistinguishability assumptions of AES; that AES with an unknown key cannot be distinguished from a random permutation. If the plaintexts are all 16 bytes long, then in ECB mode, this directly means that the ECB mode encryption of those plaintexts are ... 7 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 ... 7 The other answer is correct in general. However, if your messages are all exactly one block long (or all one block after padding), ECB is a secure MAC. A PRP looks like a PRF up to half its bit length, i.e. up to$2^{64}$blocks for AES. A secure PRF is a secure MAC of the same size. Thus, AES ECB used on 128-bit messages is a secure MAC as long as you use ... 7 In the first block, the IV provides the "randomness", and in subsequent blocks you just use the previous block of ciphertext instead. Based on the assumption, that the cipher is not weak and behaves like a pseudorandom permutation, this is basically the same: You XOR something unpredictable on the plaintext, and then encrypt. As long as the IV is chosen ... 6 A replay attack simply means that an attacker who intercepts a valid message can re-send that message as many times as they want. If there's nothing in the message that could not be legitimately repeated, then the recipient will have no reason not to accept it as a valid message. In general, all encryption modes are potentially vulnerable to replay ... 6 Use the master key in ECB mode. I have heard/read that this is cryptographically weak (Why?). The reason I include ECB mode here is that it could allow me to save half the storage space. Since the messages are only one block long, I suspect this may affect the 'traditional' arguments against ECB. Because any identical plaintexts will encrypt to the ... 6 While I'll try to answer your question at a theoretical level below, I'd like to first stress the following: It's a bad sign if, in the course of writing software, one is making such low-level decisions about encryption methods. Encryption security is extremely brittle, with seemingly insignificant details causing complete failure. With that said, the ... 6 The capacity of AES in terms of file encryption is practically unlimited for the time being, especially in OFB or CTR mode. An 8 GB file comprises short of$2^{29}$128-bit AES blocks. If one uses CBC or OFB CFB mode, odds of a collision (that is, the same block appearing in ciphertext, which reveals 128 bit worth of potentially usable information about the ... 6 If you mean how much data can safely be encrypted by AES with a single key (and IV), AES is designed to encrypt up to$2^{64}$blocks of data before becoming susceptible to certain statistical attacks (in particular distinguishing the encrypted file from truly random data), because of its 128-bit block size. 8GB (=$2^{36}$bits =$2^{29}\$ blocks) is quite ...

6

No for practical definitions of possible, assuming the key was chosen truly randomly, and no side-channel information is available (such as the power-consumption traces of the encrypting device, or the time it took, for many encryptions). The design of AES strives to be such that the best way to find the key from plaintext-ciphertext examples is to try keys ...

6

I believe what you are seeing is that .NET automatically uses PKCS #7 padding. This will always add padding. Thus if your plaintext is a complete block length, one extra block of padding will be added. The reason the ciphertext ends up being the same in both of your test cases is that it is adding the same padding in both cases (see PaddingMode Enumeration ...

5

Note: I'll disregard the base64 encoding in the following text; the base64 encoding does not change the properties of the generated ciphertext. What you are running into is padding together with ECB mode. This padding can be any static padding. Most common is PKCS#5 padding, but zero padding is also possible. It is not possible to test which padding is ...

5

The reason why CBC is considered better than ECB has nothing to do with situations involving an attacker with a partial ciphertext; we always assume that any attacker has full access to the ciphertext. Instead, the problem with ECB is that it leaks information. Specifically, if you encrypt two messages which has two blocks of plaintexts in common, then ...

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All modern block ciphers are supposed to be pseudorandom permutations, meaning that they cannot be efficiently distinguished from a truly random permutation without knowledge of the key. (If a practical distinguisher were to be found for a particular cipher, that cipher would be considered broken by modern standards.) This also implies that no two secure ...

5

It is highly misleading to call how RSA Encryption is used as 'ECB mode'. With ECB mode, we break the plaintext into N bit segments, and send each one through the block cipher separately. The block cipher is deterministic, and so if two plaintext blocks happen to be the same, so will the corresponding ciphertext blocks. Now, with RSA encryption, we take ...

4

OFB is a mode of operation to ensure confidentiality of messages a) longer than the block size of the encryption algorithm, and b) that can be re-broadcast. The motivation for these kinds of modes it to avoid the weaknesses that come from using plain ECB mode. To be precise, the typical attack on ECB mode involves analyzing the ciphertext and looking for ...

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