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Yes, kind of. The encoding does depend on the individual bits so there could very well be timing differences. Note that the differences would be pretty small; encoding a byte is likely much faster than e.g. modular exponentiation. But as even block ciphers are vulnerable it may very well be possible, especially since table lookup may be implemented. The ...


The master key has to be stronger in the sense that it's more sensitive than session keys. The information used to derive session keys are not necessarily secret, so if it's easy to recover the master key, an attacker will be able to compute all the derived keys. On the other hand, recover a single session key will not help you to recover the master key ...


Public key encryption uses a public key of the receiver; anybody can encrypt. So origin authentication would only work if you'd also have a shared secret key (in which case the whole public key encryption becomes kind of useless) or a private key (in which case you'd probably use a signature or an authenticated key agreement protocol).

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