Questions tagged [backdoors]

A backdoor in a cryptosystem or algorithm allows someone to obtain access to the decrypted data, without the need for the key/password that was used to encrypt the data.

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162 votes
4 answers
54k views

Should we trust the NIST-recommended ECC parameters?

Recent articles in the media, based upon Snowden documents, have suggested that the NSA has actively tried to enable surveillance by embedding weaknesses in commercially-deployed technology -- ...
2 votes
0 answers
130 views

Post Quantum Cryptography - Verifying if there are no backdoors in these selected algorithms: crystals-kyber, crystals-dilithium, falcon, sphincs+

I was looking through https://csrc.nist.gov/projects/post-quantum-cryptography/selected-algorithms-2022 How can one begin to mathematically verify if there are no backdoors to these selected post ...
0 votes
1 answer
224 views

What is required to use a cryptographic algorithm backdoor?

David Wong in his book Real-World Cryptography writes: In 2013, following revelations from Edward Snowden, it was discovered that NSA had purposefully and successfully pushed for the inclusion of ...
18 votes
1 answer
1k views

Crypto AG (Switzerland) - Which algorithms were used and how did the backdoors work?

Backstory Crypto AG was a company located in Switzerland that specialized in communication security. They produced a number of encryption machines (some similar to the infamous Enigma) used for ...
14 votes
0 answers
890 views

The backdoor of Telegram on Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange and possibly other examples?

Diffie-Hellman Key-Exchange (DHKE) should be used carefully during the end-to-end encryption. A man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack is possible. Standard DHKE The simple protocol on the multiplicative ...
17 votes
3 answers
3k views

Information about RSA key pair generation with backdoor?

Someone posted an article on Reddit a few days ago, and I haven't found much about it except for links back to the same page. And for a brief summary, essentially, it's possible to introduce a ...
2 votes
0 answers
371 views

Kleptographic attack of ECDSA key generation?

Kleptographic attacks can be designed for RSA key generation, Diffie–Hellman key exchange, DSA/ECDSA signing, etc. Is it also possible for ECDSA key generation? More detailed: Is it possible for an ...
3 votes
1 answer
118 views

Backdoor Designer Key Recovery in LowMC-M

The paper https://eprint.iacr.org/2020/986.pdf proposed a framework for embedding a malicious backdoor in LowMC cipher, that will later help the designer to recover the secret key in the known-...
2 votes
3 answers
400 views

Factoring Anderson's RSA backdoor

In 1993, Anderson [1] proposed a backdoor to the RSA key generation algorithm. This backdoor requires that a backdoor key (prime) $A$ be implanted within the key generation portion of the RSA ...
77 votes
8 answers
9k views

Layman's explanation of encryption backdoors

In the media, I sometimes read about "backdoors" in encryption algorithms. I'd like to understand what such a backdoor actually consists of. Is it: a) a hidden weakness in the math formulas ...
52 votes
6 answers
18k views

Who uses Dual_EC_DRBG?

Recent news articles have suggested that the NSA may be involved in trying to influence the cryptography in public standards or commercially deployed software, to enable the NSA to decrypt the ...
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

Ed25519 cryptanalysis and backdoor?

I am looking to implement Ed25519 for decentralized identity at scale. Has Ed25519 has gone through rigorous cryptanalysis? Could there be a backdoor in the algorithm?
4 votes
2 answers
435 views

What's the issue with Apple's backdoor?

I was reading Apple's public letter here regarding the "backdoor" that they have been asked to create. I'm very unclear exactly what the issue is. There was no backdoor in the encryption algorithm ...
6 votes
0 answers
173 views

About a SETUP mechanism on ECDH

I'm following these three articles: Kleptography: Using Cryptography Against Cryptography, Kleptographic Attack on Elliptic Curve Based Cryptographic Protocols and Elliptic Curve Kleptography . In ...
63 votes
5 answers
30k views

Technical feasibility of decrypting https by replacing the computer's PRNG

Intel has an on-chip RdRand function which supposedly bypasses the normally used entropy pool for /dev/urandom and directly injects output. Now rumors are going on that Intel works together with the ...
39 votes
1 answer
31k views

Explaining weakness of Dual EC DRBG to wider audience?

I have an audience of senior (non-technical) executives and senior technical people who are taking the backdoor in Dual_EC_DRBG and considering it as a weakness of Elliptic curves in general. I can ...
6 votes
1 answer
347 views

What exactly could be accomplished with a backdoor in Dual_EC_DRBG?

Assume that some entity really holds the private key corresponding to the recommended/dubious constants of Dual_EC_DRBG. According to this presentation, they would be able to reconstruct the internal ...
7 votes
1 answer
1k views

Does the backdoor in Dual_EC_DRBG work like that?

From what I read, the backdoor in Dual_EC_DRBG operates by using related $P$ and $Q$ points. Did I understand the idea correctly? Dual_EC_DRBG works by multiplying the $P$ point with the seed ...
4 votes
1 answer
729 views

NTRU Backdoor and NewHope TLS Protocol

The pre-print, Unstructured Inversions of NewHope was posted yesterday and uses a backdoor method against NTRU to claim that Grover's algorithm and an inversion oracle could be applied to NewHope. My ...
6 votes
3 answers
2k views

Inserting a backdoor into a cryptographic hash function

I'm curious as to how a backdoor can be built into a hash function. What might it take the form of? What's probability of getting one that can be backdoored in a way that can actually undermine its ...
4 votes
1 answer
275 views

Malicious DH parameters without using composite numbers [duplicate]

I know that it's possible to generate DH parameters that lead to it being easy to attack (e.g. trivial composite numbers), but is it possible to create a malicious parameter that is not a composite ...
4 votes
2 answers
890 views

What risks are involved when choosing a curve for an implementation of ECC?

What risks are involved when specific curves are chosen for an ECC implementation? How should I audit a system that uses ECC with regards to a specific curve? Bonus: How can I (or a cryptographer) ...
14 votes
3 answers
1k views

What is the best way to put a backdoor in an encryption system?

How can you put a backdoor into an encryption algorithm? Are there any techniques that can be used to reduce the time it takes to break a key? I am looking for practical examples encryption schemes ...
1 vote
1 answer
222 views

SHA256 IVs / NUMS numbers

I've read that if the IVs for SHA256 were arbitrary and / or unknown (secret) than a backdoor to predict outputs would be possible. How do the values chosen for the IVs / publishing the values ...
0 votes
1 answer
1k views

Cryptographic algorithms compromised and alternatives?

After Edward Snowden's release of top secret information we have seen clues that the NIST certified crypto-algorithms like AES might be compromised. Although not as fast as AES, we prefer Twofish ...
2 votes
1 answer
122 views

Can multi-prime RSA be used to create an abuse-resistant lawful interception mechanism?

New to site so this may have been asked before: Can multi-prime RSA, i.e. where N is product of three or more distinct primes, be used for secure communication while allowing distinct authoritative ...
17 votes
5 answers
1k views

Could one construct a cipher that is secure for friendly parties to use but insecure for hostile parties?

Consider the situation of a nation state (Blue) at war with another nation state (Red). Blue wants to deploy a secure cipher that blue currently can not break, but they are considered that Red could ...
4 votes
2 answers
636 views

Why does a non-prime DH modulus creates a "NOBUS" backdoor

can't we do a nobus backdoor with DH modulus prime? Some have argued that with a prime modulus you can just get the order by doing p-1 and then factor it, thus it is easy to reverse. I argue that this ...
2 votes
1 answer
433 views

Is Cramer-Shoup backdoorable?

We recently had the question whether it's possible to have multiple private keys with one public key for the cramer-shoup cryptosystem. There it was stated that finding such "secondary" private keys ...
5 votes
1 answer
4k views

Who uses the RSA BSAFE library? [duplicate]

Who uses RSA's BSAFE library? Does anyone know what products use it, or have any statistics on how many end users use something that is built on BSAFE? Background: BSAFE is one of the oldest ...
3 votes
1 answer
667 views

Proving Non-Existence of ECC Backdoors

In light of the NIST Dual EC DRBG scandal, I was intrigued by a NIST slide (slide 9) that said the two points P and Q can be chosen so that the chooser can prove they don't have a backdoor. This ...
2 votes
1 answer
298 views

/dev/random only needed for key generation / CPU pattern encryption

Consider the following scenarios: using OpenSSL to encrypt a file with Rijndael-256 using LUKS to encrypt a hard-drive that is used every day Exactly when is entropy from ...
23 votes
2 answers
7k views

Is there a feasible method by which NIST ECC curves over prime fields could be intentionally rigged?

The NIST elliptic curves P-192, P-224, P-256, P-384, and P-521, prescribed in FIPS 186-4 appendix D.1.2, are generated according to a well defined process, but using an arbitrary random-looking seed ...
5 votes
1 answer
666 views

How does a backdoor in the RNG enable an attacker to break encryption protocols?

I'm wondering how a backdoor in a random-number generator (as rumored the NSA have placed), actually compromises the security of things like VPNs or TSL/SSL. What I understand is that, if such a ...
6 votes
2 answers
447 views

Do test vectors ensure a cipher is free of backdoors?

If a cipher implementation passes unit tests using test vectors from some trusted source (these for AES, for example), then can we say that it is fully conforming to the specification, and must have ...
2 votes
1 answer
915 views

Hide a weakness in ECC by choosing the prime or one of the curve coefficients

Suppose you are given a value $c$. Can you find a prime $p$ and an integer $b$ such that the elliptic curve $$E: y^2 \equiv x^3 -3x + b \pmod p$$ is cryptographically weak? You need to choose $p,b$...
17 votes
1 answer
1k views

What NIST protocol was allegedly backdoored by NSA in 2006?

From a recent NY Times article: Cryptographers have long suspected that the agency planted vulnerabilities in a standard adopted in 2006 by the National Institute of Standards and Technology ...
1 vote
2 answers
142 views

What can a master password also be called?

When having a company computer that is full disk encrypted, it is common that the boss have a master password / backdoor, so the data always can be decrypted. I have heard some call this for "scrow" ...
5 votes
1 answer
343 views

When is an asymmetric scheme considered broken?

Does the following quote imply that valid encrypted data can be created and decrypted by someone other than the owner of a private key: An asymmetric encryption scheme is considered to be broken if ...