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I ran the command under dtruss on OSX, with it pointing to a static file. Even then, it appears to use this as an additional source of randomness to /dev/urandom. It's distasteful and almost certainly pointless. But assuming it only mixes the data into an already cryptographically-secure source of randomness, it's not actively harmful. That said, I can only ...


Most binary network protocols are already bounded. So if you just send the ciphertext (or the IV and the ciphertext) then the length will be known by the transport mechanism. Otherwise the method of communicating the length is entirely up to your imagination as long as you can map it to a presentation that is acceptable to your transport protocol. Null ...


Commandline openssl enc normally does Password Based Encryption which derives the actual key, and IV (although IV is ignored for ECB), from the password or passphrase you enter, using a variant of PBKDF1. To get "raw" encryption you must specify the key in hex with -K (uppercase), in which case -nosalt is irrelevant (because it applies only to PBKDF). Except ...


With OpenSSL the forward cipher for EVP_aes_265_xts is AES 256. The key being 512 bits, internally split into two 256 bit keys for each of the AES 256 ciphers used within the XTS mode of operation.

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