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Questions tagged [encryption]

Encryption is the process of transforming plaintext using a cipher into ciphertext to make it unreadable to anyone except those possessing the key. Decryption is the process of transforming that ciphertext back into plaintext, using the key.

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12answers
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Should we MAC-then-encrypt or encrypt-then-MAC?

Most of the time, when some data must be encrypted, it must also be protected with a MAC, because encryption protects only against passive attackers. There are some nifty encryption modes which ...
154
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19answers
21k views

Time Capsule cryptography?

Does there exist any cryptographic algorithm which encrypts data in such a way that it can only be decrypted after a certain period of time? The only idea that I can think of, is something like this: ...
141
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10answers
33k views

Why is writing your own encryption discouraged?

Say I want to write an encryption algorithm to communicate between me and my friend for this private use. How is that bad? E.g. I can take the word Hello and ...
91
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5answers
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Can you help me understand what a cryptographic “salt” is?

I'm a beginner to cryptography and looking to understand in very simple terms what a cryptographic "salt" is, when I might need to use it, and why I should or should not use it. Can anyone offer me a ...
86
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3answers
19k views

If WhatsApp cannot read our message, how can the media forwarding happen in an instant?

WhatsApp says even the photos shared on its platform are end-to-end encrypted. When WhatsApp says encrypted I assume the data is encrypted in my device and then sent across to the recipient. When we ...
82
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2answers
66k views

What is the main difference between a key, an IV and a nonce?

What are the main differences between a nonce, a key and an IV? Without any doubt the key should be kept secret. But what about the nonce and the IV? What's the main difference between them and their ...
78
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11answers
8k views

Is modern encryption needlessly complicated?

RSA, DES, AES, etc. all use (relatively) complicated mathematics to encrypt some message with some key. For each of these methods, there have been several documented vulnerabilities found over the ...
74
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5answers
33k views

Is AES-256 weaker than 192 and 128 bit versions?

From a paper via Schneier on Security's Another AES Attack (emphasis mine): In the case of AES-128, there is no known attack which is faster than the 2128 complexity of exhaustive search. However, ...
70
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8answers
8k views

Layman's explanation of encryption backdoors

Some times I read about "backdoors" in encryption algorithms in the media. I'd like to understand what such a backdoor actually consist of. Is it: a) a hidden weakness in the math formulas that ...
69
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10answers
12k views

In end-to-end encryption, doesn't the server need to be trusted?

Applications like WhatsApp use end to end encryption. WhatsApp says that only the users share a specific key and no third party can view the messages. But I do not understand how the two users agree ...
68
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5answers
10k views

How come Public key cryptography wasn't discovered earlier?

I became interested in crypto lately and read about symmetric and public key crypto algorithms. I understand how crucial the discoveries of the 1970s like RSA, DES and DH were in advancing the ...
68
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4answers
62k views

What are the practical differences between 256-bit, 192-bit, and 128-bit AES encryption?

AES has several different variants: AES-128 AES-192 AES-256 But why would someone prefer use one over another?
67
votes
9answers
92k views

Should I use ECB or CBC encryption mode for my block cipher?

Can someone tell me which mode out of ECB and CBC is better, and how to decide which mode to use? Are there any other modes which are better?
63
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5answers
222k views

How secure is AES-256?

The cipher AES-256 is used among other places in SSL/TLS across the Internet. It's considered among the top ciphers. In theory it's not crackable since the combinations of keys are massive. Although ...
63
votes
1answer
85k views

What is the difference between PKCS#5 padding and PKCS#7 padding

One runtime platform provides an API that supplies PKCS#5 padding for block cipher modes such as ECB and CBC. These modes have been defined for the triple DES, AES and Blowfish block ciphers. The ...
63
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1answer
98k views

What is the difference between CBC and GCM mode?

I am trying to learn more about GCM mode and how it differs between CBC. I already know that GCM provides a MAC which is used for message authentication. From what I have read, and from the code ...
57
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4answers
27k views

How can I use asymmetric encryption, such as RSA, to encrypt an arbitrary length of plaintext?

RSA is not designed to be used on long blocks of plaintext like a block cipher, but I need to use it to send a large (encrypted) message. How can I do this?
53
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3answers
1k views

Do these new insights into prime numbers affect encryption security?

Quanta Magazine reports: Two mathematicians have uncovered a simple, previously unnoticed property of prime numbers [...]. Prime numbers, it seems, have decided preferences about the final digits ...
53
votes
3answers
8k views

Hashing or encrypting twice to increase security?

Over on the bitcoin forums I asked why the bitcoin client computes SHA-256(SHA-256(x)) as its cryptographic hash for a variety of purposes. The leading theory--since the bitcoin author has disappeared-...
50
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2answers
9k views

Is the software that uses PGP broken, or is it PGP itself?

PGP is all over the news (even on TV) and there seems to be a lot of confusion about it. For the time being, people face articles like Attention PGP users: new vulnerabilities require you to take ...
48
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7answers
7k views

One Encryption, Many Decryption Keys

I would like to share access to encrypted data among many recipients. I do not know the recipients ahead of time (when encrypting the data). Once the data is encrypted, I do not have access to the ...
47
votes
1answer
33k views

Can you explain Bleichenbacher's CCA attack on PKCS#1 v1.5?

I've studied that the Bleichenbacher's CCA attack on PKCS#1 v1.5. is a base to many versions of attacks in the area. I'm trying to understand that attack, but every explanation I saw starts with the ...
42
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3answers
52k views

Why shouldn't I use ECB encryption?

I'm using Java to generate encrypted strings, and I get this warning at build time: ECB encryption mode should not be used So I'm wondering why I shouldn't use ECB and what I can use instead?
40
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4answers
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Cryptography algorithms that take longer to solve on a GPU than a CPU

I know that Graphics cards are faster at solving algorithms like SHA-256 because of the many builtin processors, but are there Algorithms that take actually longer on a Graphics card than on a modern ...
40
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4answers
96k views

Difference between stream cipher and block cipher

I read that A typical stream cipher encrypts plaintext one byte at a time, although a stream cipher may be designed to operate on one bit at a time or on units larger than a byte at a time. (...
39
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6answers
12k views

Is Convergent Encryption really secure?

Recently a company called Bitcasa demonstrated a product of cloud storage. they indicated that they would use "Convergent Encryption" to secure your data and de-duplicate, essentially one copy of the ...
39
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6answers
7k views

Is there a secure cryptosystem that can be performed mentally?

I, myself, do not plan on getting into a situation where I would be unable to use a computer in order to communicate securely. However, I can think of many practical situations in which mental ...
38
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5answers
42k views

What are the chances that AES-256 encryption is cracked?

I'm currently building a web application and would like to encrypt all data on the back-end. I was thinking of using the AES-256 encryption but wasn't sure how safe it was. I did that math and felt ...
38
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9answers
10k views

Differences between industrial and military cryptography

Basically industrial and military cryptography should follow same rules but what does makes it difference between these two: Higher key length, unknown protocols to civil or isolated transferring ...
38
votes
3answers
79k views

RSA encryption with private key and decryption with a public key

When using the RSA cryptosystem, does it still work if you instead encrypt with the private key and decrypt with the public key? What about in the case of using RSA for sender authentication?
37
votes
1answer
14k views

Why do we use encrypt-decrypt-encrypt (EDE) in 3DES, rather than encrypting three times?

I'm wondering why we use encrypt-decrypt-encrypt (EDE) sequence in 3DES (also known as DES-EDE, TDES or TDEA) with three keys instead of three times encryption (EEE) with three different keys?
31
votes
1answer
18k views

ECDSA vs ECIES vs ECDH

Recently I started studying Elliptic Curve Cryptography and I just loved it. I want to transfer some big data (like 3KB), What is the best method, ECDSA, ECIES, or ECDH (and why)? I am confused, how ...
29
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2answers
7k views

Why should I use an Initialization Vector (IV) when I have unique keys?

I took a look at “Why, or when, to use an Initialization Vector?” but my question is not the same. I have unique keys encrypting each plaintext (in CBC mode, AES-256) and I do not use a key to ...
29
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4answers
19k views

Why is CBC with predictable IV considered insecure against chosen-plaintext attack?

I just learned that using CBC encryption with an IV which is predictable is not secure. From what I understand, using certain plain texts, and then guessing the IV that it uses, the attacker can ...
29
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2answers
37k views

What's the fundamental difference between Diffie-Hellman and RSA?

What is the difference in the purpose of DH and RSA? Aren't they both public-key encryption?
28
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3answers
20k views

How cryptographically secure was the original WW2 Enigma machine, from a modern viewpoint?

If cryptanalysts today were to crack the original Enigma machine, “how fast” or “how easily” could they do it? What methods would they use? The original cracking was significantly helped by operator ...
28
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2answers
12k views

How does order-preserving encryption work?

Order-preserving encryption (OPE) is, apparently, a method of encrypting data so that it's possible to make efficient inequality comparisons on the encrypted items without decrypting them. I've been ...
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3answers
9k views

Is it possible to derive the encryption method from encrypted text?

Is it possible to identify the encryption method, or at least rule out some of them, by looking at the encrypted text? For example, if you have 3 encrypted strings where the first 10 characters are ...
27
votes
5answers
10k views

Any practical uses of machine learning for cryptography?

I am about to go study for my masters in machine learning, data mining and high performance computing, but have recently become very interested in cryptography after taking Dan Boneh's Cryptography ...
26
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2answers
7k views

How were the DES S-box values determined?

It seems like the S-boxes in DES have essentially random values. How were these chosen?
26
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1answer
41k views

AES256-GCM - can someone explain how to use it securely (ruby)

I am looking into using AES256-GCM for encrypting some database fields. I know that for AES256-CBC, I need to generate a new IV for each encrypt, but I can use the same key. The IV can be openly ...
26
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7answers
16k views

How can SSL secure a two-way communication with only one key-pair?

As I understand it, SSL involved the use of a public-private key pair. How does this enable two-way communication? Suppose I have some server with which I wish to communicate securely. I connect to ...
26
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3answers
4k views

How Far Ahead of Academia Are Government Agencies? [closed]

This is a soft question regarding comparisons between government security services (eg, NSA or GCHQ) and open-source research (e.g., academia). Hopefully it's on-topic for this site! In essence, my ...
26
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4answers
39k views

What is the effect of the different AES key lengths?

How does a changing key length affects the ciphertext, not only in case of AES, but in general? I know that the key spaces become much larger and the number of rounds in case of AES changes, but is ...
25
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6answers
4k views

Did a certain cryptography method get abandoned due to security flaws in the past?

I am researching how quantum computers affect current encryption methods (RSA and more). However, I remember learning in a course that there used to be a particular encryption method which was ...
25
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2answers
2k views

Why is PuTTYgen-created RSA public exponent(e) not in {3,17,65537}?

As far as I know, RSA public exponent(e) should be one of {3,17,65537}. However, I found PuTTYgen-created RSA public exponent(e) is 0x25(37) by default,as follows, (PuTTYgen version: 0.66) I am ...
25
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4answers
23k views

How can one securely generate an asymmetric key pair from a short passphrase?

Background info: I am planning on making a filehost with which one can encrypt and upload files. To protect the data against any form of hacking, I'd like not to know the encryption key ($K$) used for ...
23
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5answers
11k views

Why are primes important for encryption

Why are primes so important? Why can't we just use a random number? My guess is that it's because finding a random prime require more computing power, than finding a random number. Can anybody confirm ...
23
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2answers
6k views

Can Shannon's entropy be used to determine if a file is encrypted?

If we have to determine a file is encrypted or not, can we use Shannon's entropy algorithm on the file? As discussed here, the entropy (in bits per byte) being closer to 0 is considered as more ...
23
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1answer
21k views

What is the advantage of XTS over CBC mode (with diffuser)?

I have some problems in understanding the "advantage" of AES-XTS compared to CBC with diffuser. I read something about FileVault, in this paper they mention the two modes of operations XTS and CBC (...