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36

A key, in the context of symmetric cryptography, is something you keep secret. Anyone who knows your key (or can guess it) can decrypt any data you've encrypted with it (or forge any authentication codes you've calculated with it, etc.). (There's also "asymmetric" or public key cryptography, where the key effectively has two parts: the private key, which ...


34

Are checksums basically toned-down versions of cryptographic hashes? As in: they are supposed to detect errors that occur naturally/randomly as opposed to being designed to prevent a knowledgeable attacker's meticulous engineering feat? That is one way to look at it. However, hash functions have many purposes. They are also meant to be one-way (an ...


28

Actually, that wikipedia article you mention in your question already answers your question: It is moderately common for companies and sometimes even standards bodies as in the case of the CSS encryption on DVDs – to keep the inner workings of a system secret. Some argue this "security by obscurity" makes the product safer and less vulnerable to attack. ...


23

Definition In the Damgard-Merkle construction for hash functions the compression function takes as input: a message block and a chaining value. For the very first block there is not previous "chaining value". Instead a particular value, called an initialisation vector (IV) is given. A freestart collision is a collision where the attacker can choose ...


20

"PRNG" means "Pseudorandom Number Generator" which means that a sequence of numbers (bits, bytes...) is produced from an algorithm which looks random, but is in fact deterministic (the sequence is generated from some unknown internal state), hence pseudorandom. Such pseudorandomness can be cryptographically secure, or not. It is cryptographically secure if ...


16

The correct answer would be: 1 . “Cryptography is under the security field”. Let me try to explain it a bit… Cryptography Modern cryptography concerns itself with 4 objectives: Confidentiality: the information cannot be understood by anyone for whom it was unintended. Integrity: the information cannot be altered in storage or transit between sender ...


12

Randomness is not a property of strings of bits (or characters of any sort). Rather it is a property of the process that generates those strings. However, it is convenient to conflate the string with the thing that produced the string, and thus to speak about strings being “random” or “not random”. The string 00000, for example, is random if it was the ...


12

I assume you are familiar with $P$ and $NP$. Also, my knowledge of SNARKs is based mostly on the work of Parno et al., other work may differ in some fine details. So, a SNARK is a succinct non-interactive argument of knowledge. Leaving the "knowledge" part aside for the moment, let's look at "plain" succinct non-interactive arguments (called SNARGs in the ...


11

Actually, it turned out that scrypt was not as good as initially advertised under all conditions. Scrypt was designed to support the specific case of password-based key derivation for full harddisk encryption. Basically, you type your password when the machine boots up (or awakes from hibernation). This is a context where the following apply: The password ...


10

The Diffie-Hellman key exchange is a public-key technology. It is (by itself) not an encryption algorithm (or signature algorithm), though. Here is the basic function: (All calculations here happen in a discrete group of sufficient size, where the Diffie-Hellman problem is considered hard, usually the multiplicative group modulo a big prime (for classical ...


10

This is actually to a great extent a question of terminology, and ultimately which security claims you are prepared to make, more than it is a practical question. For short: You may draw the line between the key space and the algorithm any way you want, but the way you draw that line will have implications regarding which security claims you are able to ...


10

Many stream ciphers work by transforming a short key (and optionally a nonce) into a long key-stream that's xor-ed into the plaintext to produce the ciphertext, which is exactly the construction you're proposing. Wikipedia calls these Synchronous stream ciphers. Most popular stream ciphers fall into this category, including block ciphers operated in CTR or ...


9

In this context 'security margin' is a measure for how much better we need to get at analyzing a cipher to break it. Such advances in cryptoanalysis require new ideas of how one might attack a cipher. Thus estimating how strong a cipher is, is hard. Ultimately we can only tell something is broken, after we've broken it. We typically look at a few ...


9

Perfect Secrecy (or information-theoretic secure) means that the ciphertext conveys no information about the content of the plaintext. In effect this means that, no matter how much ciphertext you have, it does not convey anything about what the plaintext and key were. It can be proved that any such scheme must use at least as much key material as there is ...


9

Simplified SSLv3/TLS from this book Note, $R_{(Alice|Bob)}$ is a random nonce chosen by Alice or Bob respectively, and $\{S\}_{Bob}$ is encryption with Bob's public key. pre-master secret As stated in one of the answer you link to, "The point of a premaster secret is to provide greater consistency between TLS cipher suites." In the figure above, the ...


8

"Cycles" are CPU instruction cycles. Cycles per byte roughly measures how many instructions, in a given instruction set, are needed to produce each byte of output. They're a reasonably-good relative measure of the performance of different algorithms. Generally, when you measure an algorithm's cycles per byte, you use carefully controlled conditions. You ...


8

The three terms (key, IV, nonce) you mentioned, and another, the salt, basically describe random numbers and each term is used in another context. The key is used as input for a cryptographic primitive and should be kept secret. A nonce is a random number only used once and for a short time with the intention to get replaced by or converted into something ...


8

According to J.-P. Aumasson (who's one of the authors of another SHA-3 finalist, BLAKE, and who participated in the cryptanalysis of Keccak), the name "Keccak" is a variant spelling of "Kecak", a type of Balinese dance. So far, that's the most authoritative reference I've been able to come up with. It should be noted that naming crypto primitives after ...


8

There are multiple metrics for work or effort needed: Amount of operations it takes (one operations is, for instance, one invocation of hash function or number of modular multiplication operations) Amount of money it takes Amount of memory it takes Amount of time it takes Strength in bits Amount of operations Usually, if amount of operations is large ...


8

The key difference between the two is that a random number generator used for cryptographic purposes has to stand up to an attacker. When you use random numbers in statistics, the main thing you care about is that the output sequence "looks random." What that means in practice is that it passes a bunch of statistical tests, showing that the distribution of ...


8

The key element in the definition of a PRG is the observer (aka distinguisher, algorithm, test, etc) that the PRG is supposed to fool. A statistical PRG fools a specific set of observers, whereas a cryptographic PRG fools all efficient observers. This strong definition is essential for cryptography:: The only assumption the designer should make about the ...


8

The ideal encryption scheme $E$ would be one that, for every ciphertext $C=E(K, M)$, if the key remains secret for the adversary, the probability of identifying $M$ is negligible. Since that is not possible in practice, the second most reasonable approach is to define constraints strong enough to satisfy some definition of security. The $IND-$ notation ...


8

I think it's more helpful to think of checksums as toned-down versions of message authentication codes (not hashes). Message authentication codes (MACs) are designed to detect any modification to a message, while it is in transit. They are secure against even adversarially-chosen modifications. Checksums are designed to detect some modifications to a ...


8

As typically implemented, PBE takes a low-entropy, user-supplied password, adds some entropy to it, and thus strengthens it before turning it into a key. This key can then be used for symmetric encryption. The problem is that the user's password often has so little entropy to start with. If an attacker learns the salt, digest method and quantity of ...


7

As noted in this answer and this answer to another question, permutation is just a mathematical term for a function $\sigma:X{\rightarrow}X$ that maps a finite set $X$ onto itself, in such way that for each $y \in X$ there exists exactly one $x \in X$ such that $\sigma(x) = y$. This is also equivalent to how the term substitution is used in cryptography, so ...


7

This is a simple substitution cipher, specifically a mixed/deranged alphabet cipher. See wikipedia's description: Substitution of single letters separately—simple substitution—can be demonstrated by writing out the alphabet in some order to represent the substitution. This is termed a substitution alphabet. The cipher alphabet may be shifted or reversed ...


7

Thought I'd begin with some references for you that might be of interest. These terms are used as key 'selling points' for a number of schemes, including many of the CAESAR submissions. Some examples using the terms specifically are given below - most of which are from CAESER because I have the zoo in-front of me: "Online": OCB, Ascon, CBA, APE, NORX ...


7

A "generic attack" against a cryptographical primitive is one that can be run independently of the details of how that cryptographical primitive is implemented. The most obvious case is a cipher that takes an $N$ bit key; the generic attack of brute force takes a ciphertext, and attempts to decrypt it with all $2^N$ keys; when we find the known (or ...


7

Circuits can be expressed using very simple operations. For example, a boolean circuit consists of only two types of gates, addition and multiplication (where the input values are each 1 bit). Furthermore, (boolean) circuits can describe any computation. This is very nice when it comes to fully-homomorphic encryption. All we have to do is provide a way to ...


7

It sounds like you're basically asking for a definition of the word "cipher". I agree that it's somewhat fuzzy and complicated — that's mainly because "cipher", on its own, is not a precisely defined technical term in modern cryptography, but a descriptive word whose meaning, like that of most other English words, has evolved gradually over time. So, ...



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