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Questions tagged [keys]

Private and secret keys consists of secret information used as input to various kinds of cryptographic algorithms such as encryption, signature and MAC to select the concrete transformation done by the algorithm.

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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 ...
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Why do all SSH-RSA Keys begin with “AAAAB3NzaC1yc”?

My Friend and I have been generating a few ssh2-rsa keys and noticed that all the public keys began with "AAAAB3NzaC1yc". The similarity extended to "AAAAB3NzaC1yc2EAAAABIwAAAQEA" between two keys I ...
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Differences between the terms “pre-master secret”, “master secret”, “private key”, and “shared secret”?

Both crypto.SE and security.SE have excellent Q&As about how TLS generates session keys (I have linked some at the bottom). In reading these threads I'm having troubles with terminology since the ...
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1answer
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Can I remove newlines in a public key?

Can I remove new lines from the RSA public key file to get a one line string? So the question is if the key looks like this AAA BBB CCC or ...
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7answers
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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 ...
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5answers
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Can a hard drive store clear text data that is physically impossible to retrieve?

I'm trying to study how HSM and TPM works when storing secret data in clear text. How can they achieve physical impossibility in retrieving secret data? I get the point in software, if you just have ...
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4answers
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How to find modulus from a RSA public key?

I am studying the RSA cryptosystem. The public key consists of $(n, e)$, the modulus (product of two large primes), and the encryption exponent. I want to separate the modulus $n$ and exponent $e$. A ...
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Why does PBKDF2 xor the iterations of the hash function together?

The definition of PBKDF2 states that I obtain a derived key (1) by calling a pseudorandom function a bunch of times recursively: $U_1 = PRF(password, salt)$ $U_2 = PRF(password, U_1)$ … $U_n =...
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2answers
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When using Curve25519, why does the private key always have a fixed bit at 2^254?

When using Curve25519, the private key always seems to have a fixed bit set at position 2^254. Why is that? Is there any good reason to use a fixed positioned most-significant-bit in the private key?
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4answers
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How many RSA keys before a collision?

I was wondering how many possible private/public keys exist? If a million people – for whatever reason – would try to generate 5 keys each in the same minute (on the same date and time) is there a ...
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1answer
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Related-key attacks on AES

According to Wikipedia: Related-key attacks can break AES-192 and AES-256 with complexities $2^{176}$ and $2^{99.5}$, respectively. What are the requirements for these attacks (i.e how many ...
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Is a PRG more costly than AES or any other encryption standard?

I know that there are many encryption standards that take a key and sometimes an IV, and produces a cipher-text (the most prominent one is AES). These standards usually involve many rounds of addition ...
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3answers
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Where and how to store private keys in web applications for private messaging with web browsers

I am working on a web application enabling users to communicate over private messages which is just one part of the whole system. The main focus during my development process is to protect the privacy ...
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3answers
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Why do Feistel ciphers need round keys?

Looking at the design for Feistel ciphers, they use a list of round keys which are generated from the main key using the key schedule of the associated block cipher. Some block ciphers need this as to ...
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2answers
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Using the same RSA keypair to sign and encrypt

The RSA signature operation is basically the same as encrypting with the private key. In particular, both operations use the same kind of keys. Is it safe to use the same RSA keypair both for ...
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3answers
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Where do I securely store the key for a system where the source is visible?

I have a customer with an Access database (ugh!) in which credit cards are stored in plaintext (yikes!), so amongst other changes I'm doing in the app, I'm applying some encryption in there. I've ...
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4answers
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RSA private key integrity check

I am working on a device whose OS provides an RSA Private primitive, where the inputs are the message, and the usual components of a private key. Unfortunately it is bugged so that in some cases of ...
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How exactly does key whitening manage to increase security?

Wikipedia states that key whitening increases security: In cryptography, key whitening is a technique intended to increase the security of an iterated block cipher. It consists of steps that ...
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3answers
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Can we ensure the security of a crypto-algorithm and -implementaton against acoustic cryptanalysis?

Like people always say: “Attacks only get worse…” — which is why I'm asking early. I have been reading the paper “RSA Key Extraction via Low-Bandwidth Acoustic Cryptanalysis” published December 18, ...
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1answer
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Why do crypto tools display key components in such an unusual format?

openssl x509 (v1.0.1f) displays public key moduli as arrays of hex-encoded bytes, 15 columns wide, starting with a leading 00:: ...
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2answers
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If PGP and GPG both follow the OpenPGP standard, are they 100% compatible in all use cases?

If someone gives me their PGP key, can I use it with GPG, and vice versa, all the time (100% interchangeable)? Or are there times when they are not compatible, when only PGP can be used with a PGP key,...
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Do I need to worry about timing attacks in Base64 encoding/decoding of private keys?

Do I need to worry about timing attacks in Base64 encoding/decoding of private keys? This is a common operation (ex. PEM keys) and is variable time in typical implementations.
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If Kerckhoff's Principle holds, why do we need a cipher at all?

I understand Kerckhoff's principle, in a very practical sense, that the best attack that can be performed on a given cryptographic algorithm should be only as practical, if not less practical, than an ...
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1 Billion Bit Encryption?

So, browsing through YouTube, I stumbled on this video interview of John Draper (Captain Crunch), one of the first "hackers". He talks for about 3 minutes (until 27:48) about his home rolled ...
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1answer
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How does GPG verify succesful decryption?

How does GPG (or other programs using the OpenPGP file format) verify that it has succeeded with decryption (for symmetrically encrypted data)? Is something appended to the clear text so there exist ...
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4answers
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What is the largest performed/possible bruteforce attack to date?

I've read that cracking 128-bit key is currently out of reach of all humanity. However, I can't seem to find any information on what scope of brute force attacks have been performed or are possible at ...
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2answers
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How to calculate an IV when I have a shared private key?

I'm working with a server/client system that has securely negotiated a private key. I need to encrypt/decrypt messages passing in both directions which are typically between 100 bytes to 100 KB. I'm ...
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2answers
3k views

Are all possible EC private keys valid?

I usually generate a key pair using OpenSSL or Bouncy Castle. I'm using curve secp256k1. The 256bit private keys look fairly random. Do all values of "private ...
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1answer
2k views

Is quantum key distribution safe against MITM attacks too?

i read this recently: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12786-quantum-cryptography-to-protect-swiss-election.html and some parts of this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_key_distribution ...
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5answers
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Encrypt a file once with 50 characters password or twice with 25 characters?

What better Encrypt the file once with 50 characters password or encrypt it twice each time with 25 characters password.
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2answers
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Key derivation functions (KDF): What are? Main purposes? How can they be used?

What are KDFs? What are their main purposes? How they can be used, in other words, what's their drill in a cryptography scheme?
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3answers
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How and why can a decryption program tell me that a key is incorrect?

I have noticed that some programs used for file encryption will tell you if an entered key is wrong when you try to decrypt. It seems (to me at least) that this would mean that the key somehow is ...
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5answers
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Why in cryptographic schemes we always assume that the key and plaintext are independent?

Why do we always assume in cryptographic schemes that the key and plaintext are independent? What if the plaintext depends on the key? How can this endanger security? Is this assumption essential for ...
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3answers
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AES key reuse and guessing the key

Bit of a noob question and a fair bit of Googling didn't help. I understand that the current encryption standard is AES256. A few questions Is the point of this (and other encryption techniques) to ...
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2answers
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AES key expansion: 256bit key

In AES algorithm, in the key schedule, Why does the expansion of a 256 bit key need an extra application of the S-box, unlike the expansion of 128 bit and 192 bit keys ? (The obvious answer would be "...
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Hash decrypts key, key decrypts cipher… why?

I noticed recently that a couple of pieces of encryption software (TrueCrypt being one of them) don't directly use a hash of the password as the key for the block cipher. Instead, they generate a ...
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1answer
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Relation between Key-exchange and Public-Key encryption schemes

Recently we have seen a lot of papers on Post-quantum key-establishment (key encapsulation mechanism or Key-exchange), largely due to the standardization call of NIST for PQ-protocols. However, most ...
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Reason(s) for using a KDF for encryption keys

Assuming I already have a 256-key (32 char password) for AES encryption, comprised of random alpha-numeric characters and punctuation (95 possible ascii chars), generated by a decent PRNG, is there ...
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3answers
1k views

How to protect key in software

I need to encrypt/decrypt data from my software by AES, the problem is how to make the AES key secure, there is no HSM, should I hard code the key in my code? It seems that a hacker can read the key ...
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3answers
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AES 256 Encryption - Is it really easy to decrypt if you have the key?

So this might sound like a crazy question but bear with me for a minute. I can't find any info on the internet and so am here, although this might have been a good place to start. I've recently ...
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2answers
3k views

DES — Can I recover the key when I have both ciphertext and the plaintext?

Given a message and DES encrypted form of said message, is it possible to efficiently compute the key used to encrypt the data?
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2answers
1k views

Is it secure to derive an AES key from a MAC?

I'm working on a project where we need to encrypt a large number of files and store them on the cloud. And I'm wondering if the following process would be secure (we have a “Hardware Security Module” ...
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2answers
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Key Length & Hashing

I need to use a hash function to generate a 128-bit key for a symmetric cipher. The specific cipher is from the eStream portofolio, called Rabbit. I am using the SRP protocol for authentication (a ...
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2answers
4k views

How key materials are generated in SSL V3 from master secret

The generation of key materials is given by ...
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1answer
161 views

How to find fixed points for DES weak keys

Can someone explain me this please I am a bit confused? It's from a texbook I am reading (block cipher companion) it says that: each weak key has $2^{32}$ fixed points $m$ where $\operatorname{...
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2answers
720 views

CBC variant: why encrypt the nonce with a different key?

I am a newbie at cryptography. I understand the CBC encryption, somewhat. You don't want to use the same "IV" for every message because then the ciphers are not very random. My question is regarding ...
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1answer
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For a given plaintext-ciphertext pair, how many valid AES keys are there?

For $PT\in \mathbb{M}$ and $CT\in \mathbb{C}$, let $\mathbb{F}=\{f|f:\mathbb{M}\rightarrow\mathbb{C}\}$ be the collection of all functions from $\mathbb{M}$ to $\mathbb{C}$. Then AES encryption under ...
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1answer
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Security consequences of HMAC(m, K) instead of the correct way HMAC(K, m)

I am wondering what is the security loss or consequences of accidentally misusing an HMAC API library in this context: Regular, correct HMAC: ...
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1answer
4k views

What's the most secure way to derive a key from a password repeatably?

I'm trying to write a cloud storage application where everything the user uploads is unreadable by the server, encrypted client-side before being sent. Currently, the flow looks like this: User ...
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1answer
3k views

Is a private RSA key vulnerable to a chosen plaintext encrypted with that private key?

I grasp that having known plaintext encrypted with the public key doesn't provide a means of discovering the private key (that being the whole point...). But if one were in a situation where they ...