Disclaimer: I do NOT believe AES-ECB to be at all useful for encryption. That said, due to time and bureaucratic issues that I'm not in control of, I need to use AES-ECB.

I get packets of data that are Reed Solomon encoded. Each reed solomon encoded packet has length 255 bytes. On decoding, I get the message which is 223 bytes. (This is RS(255,223) with 8-bit symbols. Each codeword contains 255 code word bytes, of which 223 bytes are data and 32 bytes are parity).

I must now encrypt this data (223 bytes) and then RS encode it again to get back a packet of 255 bytes. However, when using AES ECB in block cipher mode, a byte of zeroes has to be padded in before encryption.

This padding yields a ciphertext that is 224 bytes long. This can't be RS encoded as the packet is required to be 223 bytes.

I realize that hoping this can be solved with a block cipher might be impossible, but any help or workarounds would be really appreciated!

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You cannot get a ciphertext of 223 bytes using ECB. It is not a multiple of the blocksize. You either have to use a stream-cipher mode of AES, or encrypt a smaller amount of plaintext, pad the ciphertext to the appropriate size, then encode. $\endgroup$
    – mikeazo
    Commented Apr 30, 2018 at 12:00
  • $\begingroup$ Can you use AES-ECB on a string of 14 unique 16-byte blocks to simulate an AES-CTR one-time pad and xor a 223-byte prefix of that with your data? (Warning: As a one-time pad you can't use it again! If your messages have sequence numbers, use the message sequence number as (say) the low 64-bit half of each 16-byte block and the block sequence number within a message as the high 64-bit half of each block.) $\endgroup$ Commented May 7, 2018 at 21:10

1 Answer 1


You can use ciphertext stealing as the padding mode and the length won't be increased, see: ECB ciphertext stealing .

  • $\begingroup$ This is over UDP, so not sure how I'd deal with packet loss in this case. $\endgroup$
    – fraiser
    Commented Apr 30, 2018 at 19:01
  • $\begingroup$ In what manor is CTS related to packet loss? Different that other packet loss? $\endgroup$
    – zaph
    Commented Apr 30, 2018 at 19:14

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