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I have read that in general stream ciphers do not provide data integrity. Can ChaCha20 be implemented in such a way (perhaps like counter mode with message authentication in AES) to provide this?

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ChaCha20 has Ind-CPA security and beyond this ( Ind-CCAx.. [1]), you need integrity and authentication. And note that Authenticated Encryption > Ind-CCA.

ChaCha20 is already teamed with Poly1305 authenticator to provide confidentiality, integrity and authentication. It exists in TLS standards and one of the five cipher suites in TLS 1.3 as ChaCha20_Poly1305.

If you are going to use ChaCha20 it is better to use XChaCha20-Poly1305 since it has larger nonce sizes (192-bit) so that randomly generated nonces are safe against the collisions, you need $2^{96}$ random nonces to hit another one with 50% probability and that is almost impossible.

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  • $\begingroup$ "You need $2^{96}$ random nonces to hit another one with 50% probability and that is almost impossible." I would just like to note that your most significant weakness was and still is a badly seeded RNG causing a collision in the nonce, e.g. at OS startup for some devices. $\endgroup$ – orlp Mar 25 at 21:42
  • $\begingroup$ @orlp well, that is a general issue. One has to know about their system before going to use it for security, like this What issues are there while using Linux's /dev/urandom for generating cryptographic keys? $\endgroup$ – kelalaka Mar 25 at 21:47

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