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Questions tagged [symmetric]

Symmetric cryptosystems assume two communicating entities share a pre-established secret key.

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43
votes
6answers
10k views

How can we reason about the cryptographic capabilities of code-breaking agencies like the NSA or GCHQ?

I have read in Applied Cryptography that the NSA is the largest hardware buyer and the largest mathematician employer in the world. How can we reason about the symmetric ciphers cryptanalysis ...
41
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3answers
26k views

Why is public-key encryption so much less efficient than secret-key encryption?

I'm currently reading Cryptography Engineering. After giving a high level explanation of the difference between secret-key encryption and public-key encryption, the book says: So why do we bother ...
38
votes
1answer
16k 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?
30
votes
2answers
7k views

Rubik's Cube as Encryption

Consider this scenario: Alice gets a Rubik's Cube and peels off the colors from each piece. She then writes a small message on one of the faces of the cube and fills the remaining pieces with random ...
28
votes
1answer
8k views

What is a tweakable block cipher?

Pretty simple question - but I can't seem to find much information about it. What exactly is a tweakable block cipher? How do they differ from traditional block ciphers? What is the 'tweak'? Is it ...
26
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3answers
4k views

Information leakage from the ecryptfs filesystem

I'm wondering what information might be leaked from the ecryptfs filesystem. This is what Ubuntu uses if you check the box for "encrypted home directory" when using the desktop installer, so is ...
25
votes
9answers
8k views

Why not the one-time pad with pseudo-number generator

I am very new to cryptography (so be kind), but I have a question that may seem silly. If the one-time pad is the perfect cipher and impossible to crack, why would the following algorithm not be one ...
24
votes
2answers
25k views

Why is asymmetric cryptography bad for huge data?

I've been told that asymmetric cryptography requires that the message to be encrypted be smaller than its key length. Why is this? I know about hybrid encryption, which uses symmetric encryption to ...
24
votes
2answers
19k views

Why is Diffie-Hellman considered in the context of public key cryptography?

In all textbooks I used the Diffie-Hellman key exchange is under "public key cryptography". As far as I can see it is a method to exchange a key to be used with a symmetric cryptographic algorithm, ...
21
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2answers
6k views

Deriving Keys for Symmetric Encryption and Authentication

So here's the concept. Rather than storing 2 keys and using a random IV, which presents its own problems (key rotation, ensuring no key is used in more than 2^32 cycles, sharing the keys, etc), is it ...
19
votes
1answer
17k views

How to choose a padding mode with AES

Depending on the framework you are using, there are various padding modes that can be used with AES encryption. For example, with .NET we can choose PKCS7, ISO10126, ANSIX923, Zeros or None. I ...
18
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7answers
3k views

Isn't AES-NI useless because now the key length need to be longer?

AES-NI speeds up both encryption and decryption. The encryption is as secure as the time needed to brute force the decryption. Doesn't it mean that the application developers will just need to ...
16
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3answers
5k views

Why does SHA-1 have 80 rounds?

Why does SHA-1 algorithm have exactly 80 rounds? Is it to reduce collisions? If yes, then why do SHA-2 and SHA-3 have a lower number of rounds?
16
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4answers
7k views

Why does the recommended key size between symmetric and asymmetric encryption differ greatly?

In various articles it is mentioned that for secure communications, the recommended key sizes are 128-bit key size for symmetric encryption (which makes it $2^{128}$ possible keys?) and 2048-bit key ...
15
votes
3answers
3k views

Do key collisions for symmetric ciphers exist?

I'm not sure if I'm calling the thing (key collisions) correctly, and that's probably why I couldn't find any information about it on Google. Still, my question is as follows. Note that I don't work ...
15
votes
1answer
12k views

Is CAST5 still a secure algorithm to use?

I just installed GnuPG for Windows. The documentation says the default symmetric cipher is CAST5. In PGP also, default cipher was CAST5. Is CAST5 secure to use? Any known attacks reported on this ...
13
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6answers
10k views

What is the importance of Modular arithmetic in cryptography?

Why do we use modular arithmetic so often in Cryptography?
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Can I determine if a user has the wrong symmetric encryption key?

We're using the Objectivity/DB object database with a custom encryption plugin that encrypts serialized objects on disk. Encryption uses AES with a shared secret key held by all users. I would like to ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

After ECDH with Curve25519, is it pointless to use anything stronger than AES128?

Is the following reasoning correct: After ECDH with Curve25519, the resulting shared secret will be an EC public key with a bit strength of 128 bits. This public key would then be hashed (let's say ...
12
votes
1answer
3k views

Sending KCV (key check value) with cipher text

I was wondering why it is not more common to send the KCV of a secret key together with the cipher text. I see many systems that send cipher text and properly prepend the IV to e.g. a CBC mode ...
12
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0answers
583 views

Why does Telegram roll its own crypto? [closed]

Telegram recently updated its symmetric-key encryption scheme MTProto, which seems to fix some known vulnerabilities. Nevertheless, I still do not understand why they roll their own crypto. What ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

KCV and compatibility with block cipher modes of operation

There has been lately a question on KCV (key check value), value provided by many CRYPTOKI (PKCS#11) implementations. I don't particularly like KCV, but I decided to ask about proper use of KCV. ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Difference between “ECDH with cofactor key” and “ECDH without cofactor key”?

I need to use “ECDH with a cofactor key” for generating symmetric key. I have a fair idea on how ECDH works, but I don’t understand the cofactor part. What is the difference between ”ECDH with a co-...
10
votes
4answers
14k views

Is using the same IV in AES similar to not using an IV in the first place?

So if I understand how an IV works with AES, I'm supposed to generate a different IV for every message because using only a key, I will get the same encryption if the message was encrypted twice (...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the difference between a 'cipher' and a 'mode of operation'?

What is the difference between the term cipher (a name like RIJNDAEL) and mode of operation (like ECB)? Aren't these both terms for the encryption/decryption technique?
10
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2answers
4k views

What is the correct way to implement PBKDF2 + AES CBC + HMAC?

I've been doing a lot of reading on the proper way to implement AES CBC mode with HMAC authentication. I've seen many explanations, however, I've had a hard time finding an actual real example (with ...
10
votes
3answers
823 views

Symmetric cipher key size vs number of rounds. Longer key = more secure cipher?

I would have questions related to discussion under this article. Bruce Schneier answered questions regarding key size vs number or rounds: Why do you need more rounds with longer keys? And how did ...
10
votes
1answer
310 views

Homogenous vs heterogeneous unbalanced Feistel networks?

Unbalanced Feistel networks can be homogenous (F-function identical in each round), or they can be heterogeneous (F-function not always identical in each round). The advantage of heterogeneous UFNs ...
10
votes
0answers
250 views

What was the BassOmatic cipher, and what made it so weak?

According to Wikipedia, this homebrew cipher was originally used in PGP, before Phil Zimmermann replaced it with IDEA. Supposedly, insecurities in the algorithm were pointed out to him, leading to ...
9
votes
5answers
15k views

Why do we need asymmetric algorithms for key exchange?

In SSL protocols, both symmetric and asymmetric algorithms are used. Why is it so? The symmetric algorithms are more secure and easier to implement. Why are asymmetric algorithms usually preferred in ...
9
votes
3answers
636 views

Are there any symmetric cryptosystems based on computational complexity assumptions?

Are there any symmetric cryptosystems which are provably secure in the sense that there exists a reduction from their security to the hardness of some underlying hard problem such as integer ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

GPG symmetric encryption and javascript

I have a use case where I need to encrypt some text in the browser using javascript. Only the encrypted text will be stored on the server. The user should then be able to take the encrypted result and ...
9
votes
1answer
344 views

CAESAR finalists: Lightweight case (Ascon vs ACORN)

The Ascon cipher has been selected as the first choice in lightweight case and ACORN as the second. However according to Face-off between the CAESAR Lightweight Finalists: ACORN vs. Ascon paper, the ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the original SKID3 protocol?

While searching for a mutual authentication protocol I often stumbled upon SKID3. However I encountered different variations of it. The basic structure is the following: (1) $A \rightarrow B: r_A$ (...
8
votes
2answers
9k views

What is the difference between PBE and symmetric key encryption?

What is the difference between PBE (password based encryption) and symmetric-key algorithms? My understanding is that symmetric-key algorithms like AES and Twofish are used in PBE. Hence PBE is just ...
8
votes
2answers
5k views

Why does DES use exactly 16 rounds?

Why does DES use exactly 16 rounds and not more or less than 16? What is the significance of using 16 rounds?
8
votes
2answers
877 views

Is it okay to use an HMAC of the plaintext and a (possibly distinct) key as the IV for symmetric cryptography?

I was thinking of how to create an IV for a block cipher that doesn't require stored state, and I came up with the idea of using an HMAC of the (padded) plaintext and a (possibly distinct) key as the ...
8
votes
1answer
520 views

Hide message length in symmetric key cryptography

Is there any way to hide message length from adversary in symmetric key cryptography? Suppose we want to hide message length from active and efficient adversaries.
8
votes
1answer
344 views

Why are multiple rounds with generated subkeys used?

In AES-128, 10 rounds are used with subkeys generated from the 128-bit key. In DES, 48-bit subkeys are generated from a 56-bit key. This seems to be common in symmetric encryption. I ask this because ...
8
votes
1answer
120 views

Is the risk of a collision for OCB mode mitigated by upping the block size of the cipher?

A paper published by Niels Furguson Collision attacks on OCB indicates that processing large amounts of data (somewhere on the order of $2^{32}$ 128 bit blocks) with a single encryption operation (...
8
votes
1answer
172 views

How would Private-key Cryptography be if we use quadratic polynomials as OWF's?

I am aware that one-way functions (OWF's) are the core of many of the primitives in symmetric crypto, in the sense that many cryptographic primitives in the private-key setting can be constructed from ...
7
votes
3answers
762 views

Why the symmetric key layer in PGP?

I've been familiarizing myself with the basics of PGP. If I understand correctly, PGP symmetrically encrypts the data of interest using a random single-use key, then encrypts the encrypted data and ...
7
votes
1answer
3k views

AES: Why is it a good practice to use only the first 16 bytes of a hash for encryption?

I'd like to encrypt Text with AES/CTR and a password defined by the user in java. I already checked the internet (and stackoverflow) for answers. The most used version is to hash the user password ...
7
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2answers
1k views

What exactly does s2k do in gpg

So I recently discovered the --s2k mode in gpg. Sadly it is not very well-documented. I mean, what is ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

CBC - a canonical mode, even though there are streaming modes

Why is CBC considered the canonical mode when there are streaming modes available such as CFB and OFB? One thing that I can think of is that in CBC you can easliy do range-based decryption. All you ...
7
votes
2answers
583 views

When encrypting twice with two separate keys, can a single key decrypt both steps?

Is it possible that if a plaintext is encrypted first with a key, $n_1$, and then this ciphertext is again encrypted using the same algorithm but a different key, $n_2$ that the resulting ciphertext ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Are there deterministic private-key encryption schemes that are CPA-secure?

I'm assuming there can't be such schemes because CPA-security is equivalent to CPA-security for multiple encryptions, and an adversary can distinguish between $(\mathsf{Enc}_k(m_0),\mathsf{Enc}_k(m_0))...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Is it necessary for the Rijndael polynomial to be primitive?

I am working on selecting a S-box for my Cipher (Similar to AES). I found out there are 30 irreducible polynomials and over 16 primitive polynomials of degree 8. Is it necessary to choose a primitive ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Implement deniable encryption with AES/RSA

I'm on a crypto app using OpenSSL (I'm more an implementer/cryptographer than a cryptologist), mainly as a hobby, for now. My app will be able to encrypt a file (not a container) with symmetric or ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Is storing the hash of a key together with ciphertext encrypted with that key secure?

Is it secure to store the hash of a symmetric cipher key along with data encrypted with that key? Are there any circumstances or algorithms in which this combination could lead to potential weaknesses ...