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69

In the first decade of the 21th century, and counting, on a given $\text{year}$, no RSA key bigger than $(\text{year} - 2000) \cdot 32 + 512$ bits has been openly factored other than by exploitation of a flaw of the key generator (a pitfall observed in poorly implemented devices including Smart Cards). This linear estimate of academic factoring progress ...


43

For practical purposes, 128-bit keys are sufficient to ensure security. The larger key sizes exist mostly to satisfy some US military regulations which call for the existence of several distinct "security levels", regardless of whether breaking the lowest level is already far beyond existing technology. The larger key sizes imply some CPU overhead (+20% for ...


27

The actual encryption algorithm is almost the same between all variants of AES. They all take a 128-bit block and apply a sequence of identical "rounds", each of which consists of some linear and non-linear shuffling steps. Between the rounds, a round key is applied (by XOR), also before the first and after the last round. The differences are: The longer ...


19

First of all, I'm no expert in this area. Generally $n$ bit ECC seems to have a security level of about $n/2$, but I found some claims that it's lower for certain types of curves. RFC4492 - Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) Cipher Suites contains the following table: for Transport Layer Security (TLS) Symmetric | ECC ...


18

You might want to look at NIST SP800-57, section 5.2. As of 2011, new RSA keys generated by unclassified applications used by the U.S. Federal Government, should have a moduli of at least bit size 2048, equivalent to 112 bits of security. If you are not asking on behalf of the U.S. Federal Government, or a supplier of unclassified software applications to ...


18

Those appear to be based on the complexity of the General Number Field Sieve, one of the fastest (if not the fastest) classical factoring algorithms. I confirmed this in Mathematica. Here is the complexity for the GNFS (source): $$\exp\left( \left(\sqrt[3]{\frac{64}{9}} + o(1)\right)(\ln n)^{\frac{1}{3}}(\ln \ln n)^{\frac{2}{3}}\right)$$ where $n$ is a ...


17

Examining his claims about "Thundercloud": You can use it with "any existing software, operating system, or device" (a massive amount of effort---by whom?) Has its "own cryptographic language that is completely independent of any existing security technology" (this is a negative thing: abandoning the entire knowledge base of cryptography is incredibly ...


16

Computational cost of RSA with keys of length $n$ bits is roughly $O(n^2)$ for public key operations (encryption, signature verification), and $O(n^3)$ for private key operations (decryption, signature generation). So RSA with a million-bit key will be roughly one billion times slower than RSA with 1024-bit keys (for the private key operations); the latter ...


15

A block cipher is pretty much a substitution cipher. So let's look at a simple alphabetic substitution cipher. There are 26 different plaintexts and 26 different ciphertext. The cipher is a permutation of these 26 values. But that does not mean there are 26 different permutations, it means that there are $26! \approx 2^{88.4}$ different permutations, which ...


15

Symmetric encryption and asymmetric encryption algorithms are built upon vastly different mathematical constructs. In typical symmetric encryption algorithms, the key is quite literally just a random number in $\left[0 .. 2^n\right]$, where $n$ is the key length. The strength of the key is based upon its resistance to brute-force attacks, where an attacker ...


15

In RSA, the bit size $n$ of the public modulus $N$ is often of the form $n=c\cdot2^k$ with $c$ a small odd integer. $c=1$ ($n=512$, $1024$, $2048$, $4096$.. bit) is most common, but $c=3$ ($n=768$, $1536$, $3072$.. bit) and $c=5$ ($n=1280$..) are common. One reason for this is simply to limit the number of possibilities, and similar progressions are found ...


13

That's not the same kind of key. Symmetric keys are bunch of bits, such that any sequence of bits of the right size is a possible keys. Such keys are subject to brute force attacks, with cost $2^n$ for a $n$-bit key. 128 bits are way beyond that which is brute-forceable today (and tomorrow as well). If a block cipher is "perfect" then enumerating all ...


12

The security level of an elliptic curve group is approximately $\log_2{0.886\sqrt{2^n}}$. You can use this to approximate the security level of a $n$-bit key, eg: $\log_2{0.886\sqrt{2^{571}}} = 285.32537860389294$ The real computation (at least for curves over a finite field defined by a prime $p$) is $ \log_2{\sqrt{\pi/4}\sqrt{ℓ}} $, where $ℓ$ is the ...


11

Using powers of two is traditional. It also has a few implementation benefits for very constrained architectures: it saves a few instructions. This indirectly implies that some implementations are not able to process RSA keys whose size is not a multiple of 32 or 64, meaning that if you want maximum interoperability, you should not use other key sizes as ...


10

Oh, and while you did not specifically ask about this, there is another point I believe that is important to highlight; DH and SRP are different protocols, and have different requirements on the generator they use. In particular, taking a generator that is designed to be used securely within DH can void the security properties of SRP. Here's what's going ...


10

Well, yes, that is generally good advice about DH. Here is some background on this: support you were given a value $g^x \bmod p$, and you were also told that $1 \le x \le A$ for some value $A$. If so, then there are several known attacks (such as Big Step/Little Step and Pollard's Rho) that can recover $x$ in about $\sqrt A$ steps. If we have as our ...


9

First of all, this is not legal advice. However, I've been in the unfortunate position where I've had to deal with this legal nightmare. The new agreement which regulates export of cryptography internationally is called the Wassenaar Arrangement. If your product is what is called a mass market product, i.e available for purchase to the general public without ...


9

Actually, the problem is that the above quote uses the term "discrete log" in a way that's different from what you're thinking of. When someone uses the term "discrete log", they can mean two things: A discrete log in the group $Z^*_p$; that is, given $p$, $g$ and $g^x \bmod p$, recover $x$ A discrete log in some other group; that is, given a group $G$, a ...


9

No, the RSA key size is not the size of the private key exponent. It is customarily the number of bits in the public modulus (which is known as $N$). In other words, the key size is the integer $k$ such that $2^{k-1}\le N<2^k$. In most implementations (and all implementations conforming to PKCS#1), a private exponent $d$ has size in bits at most the key ...


8

Prompted by Paŭlo's comment, I took a look at the original requirements set out for the AES candidates. A useful page for that turns out to be AES - The Early Years (1997-98) on the NIST web site (and surprisingly hard to find there; the internal links are broken and Google doesn't find it either). The AES key lengths were specified in the original Request ...


8

In my opinion, if AES-128 is broken, then it's highly likely that AES-192 and AES-256 will fall too (because these types of attacks are structural and easily extend to longer key-lengths). In fact, we know a successful attack on AES will not be via exhaustive key search on a conventional computer. There is, however, some chance that key-size will matter in ...


8

Presumably, it's because they rounded it down to a nice round number of bits. Nobody's going to use an 86.76611925028119 bit key in practice, but an 80-bit key is plausible. Besides, the 86.whatever bit symmetric key length is only approximate, anyway: even using the GNFS, implementation details could easily swing it several bits either way, and of course, ...


8

A 4000-bit RSA key is reasonable (more precisely, that would be the bit size of the public modulus; and 4096-bit would be more common). But it is not reasonable to memorize it (or, more precisely, that the owner try to memorize the corresponding private key); and that's practically never done. One does not ask normal users to memorize or remember a key, or ...


8

The paper says that the parameters are $r ≈ 2^{\sqrt \eta}$ and $q ≈ 2^{\eta^3}$. Note that these values are expressed as functions of $\eta$, not $N$. With regard to the parameters, it is common practice to describe them using the asymptotic notation. $\omega(\cdot), \Theta(\cdot)$ and $\tilde O(\cdot)$ are instances of this notation. $\omega(g(n))$ ...


8

The only rule for the key is that it should at least contain 256 bits of randomness. If the key is smaller you may not get the full security of HMAC. Preferably this should be condensed into 32 bytes. What you are talking about is probably the hexadecimal representation of those 32 bytes. If the key is too large it may affect performance and efficiency of ...


8

No, the security is about identical, as the underlying RSA problem is the same. Besides that, non-repudiation is usually managed differently with regards to legal requirements. Providing confidentiality (encryption) is a rather different use case than non-repudiation (signing a contract). It is also possible to use signatures for authentication rather than ...


7

No. The challenge for RSA-155 (which is 512 bits) was broken in 1999. This took 6 months on pretty advanced hardware to break at the time, which works out to 8000 MIPS years. It should be much less today. FYI, RSA 768 took just under 3 years.


7

First let's take care of your encoding related issues: You can't simply say one byte equals one char. You need an encoding to transform between these, where the properties depend on that encoding. When transforming between normal text and bytes, UTF-8 is a good choice. One character will correspond to a variable amount of bytes that way. You'd use this to ...


7

When we consider that a Playfair key consists of the alphabet (reduced to 25 letters) spread on a 5x5 square, that's $25!$ keys (another formulation consider any string to be a key; then strings leading to the same square are equivalent keys). The rules of Playfair are such that any rotation of the lines in the square, and any rotation of its columns, lead ...


7

The minimum of 40 bits is conventional; below 40 bits of key material, RC4 (or practically any cipher without some built-in key stretching) is just too unsafe. At some point in history, in many countries, ciphers with a key above 40 bits where illegal in some usage (in USA: export; in France: use, sale, export); thus cipher designers wanting to prescribe ...



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