Questions tagged [terminology]

Questions about the meaning and proper use of specific technical terms or notation within cryptography.

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45
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1answer
19k views

Easy explanation of “IND-” security notions?

There are many schemes that can advertise themselves with certain security notions, usually IND-CPA or IND-CCA2, for example plain ElGamal has IND-CPA security but doesn't provide IND-CCA security. ...
50
votes
6answers
9k views

Kerckhoffs’ principles – Why should I make my cipher public?

As I understand it, the less people know about the internals of my protocol or cipher, the more secure the protocol is. However Kerckhoffs's principle states that A cryptosystem should be secure ...
132
votes
2answers
116k 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 ...
19
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1answer
4k views

What do the signature security abbreviations like EUF-CMA mean?

From time to time, one stumbles across formal security definitions. This includes security definitions for signature schemes. The most common ones are the *UF-* ...
30
votes
1answer
37k views

What is Attribute Based Encryption?

Can someone explain what attribute based encryption is? I was searching for a book or something that can help me in this regard but so far I have found none. Google also returns practically nothing ...
32
votes
5answers
23k views

What is the difference between CSPRNG and PRNG?

What is the difference between CSPRNG and PRNG? Is there performance differential between them? For example: We use PRNG for key generation which is very expensive and CSPRNG for IV/nonce in block ...
14
votes
2answers
579 views

Does GCM (or GHASH) only provide 64-bit security against forgeries?

In a recent comment a doubt was voiced about my answer, which claims GCM to requires $2^{128}$ for a successful forgery. The doubt was that the square root needs to be taken meaning the security would ...
30
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8answers
34k views

Simply put, what does “perfect secrecy” mean?

I would like to ask for a clear (but maybe not so deep) explanation of what the term "perfect secrecy" means. As far as I have researched and understood, it has to do with probabilities of assuming ...
45
votes
1answer
6k views

What is a “freestart collision”?

In their work on SHA-1 collisions (cf. the EUROCRYPT-2016 paper “Freestart collision on full SHA-1” by Stevens, Karpman, and Peyrin) Stevens et al show that they are able to generate "freestart ...
21
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4answers
17k views

The exact difference between a permutation and a substitution

I've noticed confusing definitions about permutation and substitution, preventing me from understanding the difference. A permutation changes the order of distinct elements of a set, but this can be ...
21
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2answers
2k views

Definition of “pepper” in hash functions

I am confused about the notion of "pepper" in the context of storing hashes of users' passwords. Definition 1: A pepper is a secret key Looking around the Internet, for example here or here, a ...
39
votes
3answers
21k views

What are the differences Between “White-Box Cryptography” and “Code Obfuscation”?

I have been reading the question "What is a white-box implementation of a cryptographic algorithm?" and it led to this short article / Q&A which states in question 2: Q2: What is the ...
7
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1answer
3k views

What is “Implicit Authentication”?

What is “Implicit Authentication” in the context of authentication methods? I searched the Web but could not find any article that describes this. If anyone can describe it, that would be a great ...
15
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3answers
5k views

What's a cryptographic primitive, really?

The more I encounter the term "cryptographic primitive," the less I feel confident that I truly understand what it means. Is it just me, or is there no universal definition for the term? Or does the ...
16
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6answers
3k views

How exactly is “true randomness” defined in the realms of cryptography?

Especially in relation to stream ciphers, I frequently read about (sometimes theoretical, sometimes practical) attacks that are able to "distinguish a ciphertext from a truly random stream". What's ...
7
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1answer
3k views

What is a fair exchange scheme?

The Wikipedia entry Fair exchange has only two lines, and the only paper I can find describing such a protocol is extremely complicated. Is this a new field in cryptology or can someone give an ...
42
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2answers
45k views

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 ...
4
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1answer
5k views

Simulation-based security?

I've been reading Introduction to Modern Cryptography by Katz and Lindell as an introduction to cryptography. The book seems to use the term 'simulator' when it talks about a game like, for instance, ...
39
votes
1answer
4k views

What is “Fast Prime”?

In this note, the manufacturer of a RSA key generation gizmo vulnerable to the new ROCA attack (see second section) explains that it is common practice to employ acceleration algorithms in order to ...
11
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2answers
3k views

What does “circuits” mean in Cryptography?

I am not a hardcore cryptographer so this might be a really stupid question. I am looking through some papers in homomorphic encryption and discovered they describe computation as "circuits", why do ...
6
votes
2answers
18k views

What is the meaning of “trapdoor” in cryptography?

I do not really understand the meaning of a "trapdoor" in cryptography, so here are my questions: What is the meaning of trapdoor and how can I convert a word or string using a trapdoor in ...
32
votes
4answers
5k views

Are checksums essentially non-secure versions of cryptographic hashes?

Are checksums basically toned-down versions of cryptographic hashes? As in: they are supposed to detect errors that occur naturally/randomly as opposed to being designed to prevent a knowledgeable ...
9
votes
2answers
8k views

Definition and meaning of “semantic security”

I'm taking a Coursera cryptography course. The definition of semantic security is hard to understand. I tried to restate it with some slight changes (the word "efficient" was in the original ...
9
votes
2answers
15k views

SHA-256 “almost unique”?

I have seen numerous references on the internet of people describing SHA-256 as generating an "almost unique" hash. Exhibit A. there are more. Is there some mathematical basis to the almost ...
11
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2answers
1k views

K out of N encryption

A friend just showed me how to combine padlocks to achieve a lock that opens when k out of n people turn their keys. I was ...
10
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1answer
8k views

What is a Pedersen commitment?

I couldn't find any answer providing a high-level overview on what Pedersen commitments are or what they are used for.
9
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2answers
424 views

What is the official, generally accepted definition of “lightweight crypto”?

I frequently stumble upon the term "lightweight crypto". It tends to be used is a for special algorithms that use less resources, for constrained systems. Yet, it's somewhat unclear to me ...
9
votes
1answer
3k views

What is “Blinding” used for in cryptography?

What does "blinding" mean in cryptography, and where do we usually use it? Can you describe a sample implementation?
7
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2answers
4k views

Non-linearity of a boolean function

What's the definition of non-linearity of a boolean function? Roughly saying it is minimum number of times it equals any affine function. But I don't get it mathematically. For example, if $f = ...
8
votes
1answer
627 views

How distinct are the meanings of the terms “CSPRNG,” “DRBG” and “stream cipher”?

Are there universal, consensus definitions for the following terms? Cryptographically secure pseudo-random number generator ("CSPRNG") Deterministic random bit generator ("DRBG") Stream cipher This ...
6
votes
1answer
981 views

What is 'key agility' in relation to symmetric-key encryption?

I sometimes see, in discussions of symmetric ciphers, reference to the 'key agility' of a particular algorithm. It seems to be related to the difficulty of switching encryption keys, but I don't ...
2
votes
1answer
626 views

What do associated data and message numbers mean?

I'm reading an article about authenticated encryption and don't understand some inputs to an encryption function. They are associated data, public and secret message numbers. Can you explain me their ...
-2
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2answers
204 views

Why are there so many stream ciphers out there and even ongoing research?

What make them better than OTP using a CSPRNG initialized with a secret key?
40
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1answer
16k views

What are SNARKs?

What does it mean and what is it used for, I have been hearing this term a lot lately. From the context I've heard it talked about it seems to be connected with zero knowledge?
10
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1answer
3k views

What is it meant by a “hybrid argument”?

Can anyone explain (or point to a reference for) what a hybrid argument is in a security proof, and when it's convenient or preferable to use it? Among some of the places where I've seen it mentioned,...
24
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2answers
8k views

Is there any difference between cryptography and cryptology?

Is there a difference between cryptography and cryptology, if any? An internet search suggests that both terms can be used interchangeably.
14
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1answer
2k views

What was NIST’s reason to switch naming from MD… (Message Digest) to SHA… (Secure Hashing Algorithm)?

When NIST introduced SHA-0 in 1993, they – for the first time – switched their naming convention from MD-n to SHA-n. Since both point to similar constructions (read: hashing algorithms with the same ...
14
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2answers
2k views

What is “witness encryption”?

I recently skimmed over tho papers on time-lock encryption: “Time-release Protocol from Bitcoin and Witness Encryption for SAT” by Liu, Garcia, and Ryan “How to Build Time-Lock Encryption” by Jager ...
9
votes
1answer
5k views

What does Maj and Ch mean in SHA-256 algorithm?

I'm guessing they're some kind of standard function but what do they do and what do the names mean? A little explaination or link me to an article would be great.
7
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4answers
2k views

When is an RNG a CSPRNG, a CSRNG, or a TRNG?

In a recent answer to a question about CSPRNGs, it was stated that… Nondeterministic algorithms where there is no such requirement, and ideally could be replaced by a true random generator. Example: ...
7
votes
1answer
404 views

What is the “artificial abort” technique?

In the security proof of Brent Waters's paper Efficient Identity-Based Encryption Without Random Oracles, he uses a novel “artificial abort” step on page 6. At this point the simulator is still ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

What is a related key?

We talk of related keys and related key attacks, but what is a 'related key'? So in three related parts:- How can one key be related to another key? Is there a metric describing the degree of ...
9
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3answers
3k views

What does “export grade” cryptography mean? And how is this related to the Logjam attack?

I am doing some research on the Logjam attack, and I need help in learning some terms that are new for me. What does "export grade" cryptography mean? And how is this related to the Logjam attack?
11
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3answers
3k views

Why was the term “discrete” used in discrete logarithm?

Is there anything especially "discrete" about a discrete logarithm? This is not a question of what is a discrete logarithm or why the discrete logarithm problem is an "intractable problem" given ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

What does a “cycle” mean in cryptography benchmarks?

In this table of the "Crypto++ 5.6.0 Benchmarks", for example, cryptographic algorithm performance is measured in cycles per byte for symmetric ciphers, and in cycles per operation for asymmetric ...
5
votes
1answer
337 views

Difference between lightweight, online and low memory Authenticated Encryption schemes

What is the basic difference between the following types of Authenticated Encryption (AE) schemes? Lightweight Authenticated encryption Online Authenticated Encryption Authenticated Encryption for ...
4
votes
1answer
377 views

What does “adaptively secure” mean?

In a paper it says "In the generic group model, the PRF is adaptively secure for inputs of $\mathbb{Z}_q^n$". Maybe a stupid question, but what does "adaptively secure" mean exactly?
4
votes
1answer
2k views

What is adversary's advantage in cryptography and why we use it?

The definition of adversary's advantage seems a bit odd for me and I am wondering why do we use it to measure the power of an adversary rather than just use the probability of a PPT adversary ...
3
votes
1answer
198 views

What is a nonce-respecting adversary?

The NORX8 paper says It is assumed that adversaries are nonce-respecting. What is a nonce-respecting adversary?
3
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2answers
2k views

How to calculate if probability is negligible or not

If i have probability $Q = 2C(A\times B)$ where $A$ and $B$ are unknown probabilities and $C$ is a non-negligible probability, what can i speculate about probability $Q$ and how can i calculate bounds ...