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25

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 ...


17

In short: You must authenticate the IV. Which particular attacks apply if you don't depends on the block cipher mode; I will give two common examples. In CTR mode, an attacker who fiddles with the IV can forge authenticated messages, but the content of the corresponding plaintext is beyond his control (since he doesn't know the key). Depending on the ...


16

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.


13

n is the exponent. So when n is doubled from 64 to 128 it doesn't mean that you have to try twice as many values. It means that you have to try $2^{64}$ times the amount you were already trying (as $2^{128} = 2^{2\times64} = 2 ^{64+64} = 2^{64}\times2^{64}$). It is required to only search half of the key space on average (if average is the correct term ...


13

Decrypt the ciphertext with every possible key and store the result: $2^{56}$ decryptions. Now encrypt the (known) plaintext of the ciphertext with every possible key: $2^{56}$ encryptions. Now you have to check every entry, which is in both lists and try it with another plaintext-ciphertext pair. If you can successfully decrypt that, you are very likely to ...


12

Synchronous stream cipher, or just stream cipher. In a synchronous stream cipher a stream of pseudo-random digits is generated independently of the plaintext and ciphertext messages, and then combined with the plaintext (to encrypt) or the ciphertext (to decrypt). In the most common form, binary digits are used (bits), and the keystream is combined with ...


11

Yes, it's the same XOR. It gets used inside most of the algorithms, or just to merge a stream cipher and the plaintext. Everything is just bits, even text. The word "hello" is in ASCII 01101000 01100101 01101100 01101100 01101111. Just normal bits, grouped in 5 bytes. Now you can encrypt this string with a random string of 5 bytes, like an One-time pad. ...


10

Yes, of course there is a benefit to signing unencrypted emails. The article you cite is solely about the combination of signature and encryption; it doesn't directly say anything about signing unencrypted emails. There is an important concern raised by the article which does apply to unencrypted emails, but that's because that concern applies equally ...


10

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 ...


10

Let me first answer your actual question (and then I'll proceed to answer something slightly different that I think will be informative and helpful). Your question asks whether it's possible to use only a DSA key. Technically speaking, this is of course possible. The reason is that a DSA key has exactly the same format as an ElGamal key. No one forces you to ...


10

This is trivially true via the pigeonhole principle. SHA-2/512 has $2^{512}$ possible outputs, but infinite possible inputs. Trying $2^{512}+1$ unique inputs is sufficient to produce at least one collision. That said, SHA-2/512 is designed to be collision resistant, which implies that it should be hard to find two inputs that hash to the same value. Finding ...


9

Python is a scripting language, so if you've got the program, you usually also have the source code. So you don't even have to reverse-engineer. That doesn't matter much for two reasons: other languages are pretty easy to reverse engineer (or they are complex for both the programmer and the attacker); the algorithm does not have to be kept safe anyway, due ...


9

A Diffie-Hellman exchange needs not be synchronous. In DH, each party has a private key (x) and a public key (gx mod p). If the sender knows the recipient's public key ga, then he can build his own key pair (b and gb), compute the shared secret (gab), and send both his public key (gb) and the encrypted message (symmetric key derived from gab) to the ...


9

"Allowed" or "forbidden" are not the right terms; the Pope won't excommunicate you if you dare implement your own algorithms. The question is rather whether doing your own implementation is a smart move or not. For learning, doing your own implementation is a good idea. It will teach you a lot on how the said algorithms work. A lot of details on how ...


8

The article you linked to predates the S/MIME 3.2 spec. If your client is sending S/MIME 3.2 messages, it should support header protection. Refer to RFC 5751 Section 3.1: In order to protect outer, non-content-related message header fields (for instance, the "Subject", "To", "From", and "Cc" fields), the sending client MAY wrap a full MIME message ...


8

The point of cryptography is having algorithms that are secure even when the attacker knows them. Google security by obscurity to see why it's bad. I'll add the following based on otus comment. Python can be reverse engineered, so you can't hide your algorithms. Basically, if someone can run your code, they can reverse engineer the algorithms. The point of ...


8

There are many different cryptography laws in different nations. Some countries prohibit export of cryptography software and/or encryption algorithms or cryptoanalysis methods. In some countries a license is required to use encryption software, and a few countries ban citizens from encrypting their internet communication. Some countries require decryption ...


8

It depends. Specifically, it depends on the type of cipher, and on the way it's used. For stream ciphers like RC4, and for block ciphers like AES in CTR and OFB modes, decryption is effectively identical to encryption, and thus takes the exact same time. (Minor exception: encryption may require generating a unique nonce / IV, which might take a small ...


7

You could use HMAC for this. HMAC is available in pretty much every crypto library out there. The process would work like this. Randomly pick A and C. For simplicity, let's assume they are strings (of any length). Compute $B=HMAC(A,C)$. Publish $B$. Once someone guesses $A$, you publish $C$. Anyone can then verify that $B=HMAC(A,C)$. As long as a good hash ...


7

You can in principle encrypt using a hash function, in the manner you describe (although what you have described is not necessarily a secure construction). What you are trying to do is generate a keystream from a hash function and a key. You can use counter mode to turn any strong pseudorandom function (PRF) into a stream cipher. CTR mode produces a ...


7

XSalsa20 uses the same cryptographic core as Salsa20 and comes with a security proof that it's secure if Salsa20 is secure. It doesn't use the core of ChaCha and thus has worse diffusion. The way XSalsa20 works is that it hashes its 256 bit key and the first 128 bits of the nonce using HSalsa down to a 256 bit key and then uses that key together with the ...


7

There are probably quite a few good reasons for this, although I don't expect that a scientific answer can be composed (as you would need to use a survey, and I've never heard of such a thing for modes of operation). Let me list a few possible reasons: Developers don't know about CTR mode of operation; most questions on StackOverflow are about ECB and CBC ...


7

This is called a transposition cipher. It is the kind of thing that was commonplace before the invention of the computer, and some people were really good at breaking that in mere minutes (e.g. Edgar Allan Poe). In all generality, breakage is done by backtracking (wrong hypotheses on permutation elements leading to "impossible digraphs" that cannot occur in ...


7

In computer science, and implementation of crypto, ROTL stands for ROTate Left. ROTL is also noted ROL, or RLNC for Rotate Left No Carry. On a $w$-bit word with bits numbered from $0$, bit number $j$ of the input of ROTL with a shift count of $n$ goes to bit $j+n\bmod w$ of the result; $n=1$ unless otherwise specified (and is the only value available on ...


7

Although there are already many answers here, I wanted to strongly advocate AGAINST MAC-then-encrypt. I fully agree with Thomas' first half of the answer, but completely disagree with the second half. The ciphertext is the ENTIRE ciphertext (including IV etc.), and this is what must be MACed. This is granted. However, if you MAC-then-encrypt in the ...


6

Yes, the XOR used in cryptography means the same bitwise XOR operator you're familiar with. And yes, to securely encrypt a message with XOR (alone), you do need a key that is as long as the message. In fact, if you have such a key (and it's completely random, and you never reuse it), then the resulting encryption scheme (known as the one-time pad) is ...


6

In cryptography, the algorithm should be considered public knowledge. Post the original code and we can give you a better idea if it is secure or not.


6

Current symmetric cryptography and hashes are actually believed to be reasonably secure against quantum computing. Quantum computers solve some problems much faster than the best known classical algorithms, but the best known quantum attack against AES is effectively "try all the keys." In a quantum computer, the time taken to solve a general search problem ...



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