Cryptography is the practice and study of logical means used to achieve information confidentiality, integrity and authenticity. It covers, among other things, encryption (making some data unreadable except for those who know a given secret element, called a key), data hashing (in particular for ...

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836
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23answers
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XKCD #936: Short complex password, or long dictionary passphrase?

How accurate is this XKCD comic from August 10, 2011? I've always been an advocate of long rather than complex passwords, but most security people (at least the ones that I've talked to) are ...
523
votes
11answers
110k views

How to securely hash passwords?

If I hash passwords before storing them in my database, is that sufficient to prevent them being recovered by anyone? I should point out that this relates only to retrieval directly from the database,...
394
votes
5answers
136k views

Do any security experts recommend bcrypt for password storage?

On the surface bcrypt, an 11 year old security algorithm designed for hashing passwords by Niels Provos and David Mazieres, which is based on the initialization function used in the NIST approved ...
332
votes
8answers
280k views

RSA vs. DSA for SSH authentication keys

When generating SSH authentication keys on a Unix/Linux system with ssh-keygen, you're given the choice of creating a RSA or DSA key pair (using -t type). What is the difference between RSA and DSA ...
289
votes
13answers
37k views

How is it possible that people observing an HTTPS connection being established wouldn't know how to decrypt it?

I've often heard it said that if you're logging in to a website - a bank, GMail, whatever - via HTTPS, that the information you transmit is safe from snooping by 3rd parties. I've always been a little ...
287
votes
3answers
290k views

What's the difference between SSL, TLS, and HTTPS?

I get confused with the terms in this area. What is SSL, TLS, and HTTPS? What are the differences between them?
180
votes
21answers
23k views

How can I explain to non-techie friends that “cryptography is good”?

After that case in which Brazilian government arrested a Facebook VP due to end-to-end encryption and no server storage of messages on WhatsApp to prove connection with a drug case, it's become pretty ...
178
votes
8answers
81k views

Why not use larger cipher keys?

RSA Security commonly uses keys of sizes 1024-bit, 2048-bit or even 3072-bit. And most Symmetric algorithms only between 112-bit and 256-bit. I do realize that the current keys are secure enough for ...
171
votes
8answers
38k views

Why are salted hashes more secure for password storage?

I know there are many discussions on salted hashes, and I understand that the purpose is to make it impossible to build a rainbow table of all possible hashes (generally up to 7 characters). My ...
136
votes
5answers
128k views

Is Telegram secure?

There is a new WhatsApp-killer application called Telegram. They said that it's open source and that it has a more secure encryption. But they store all the messages in their servers and WhatsApp ...
129
votes
7answers
112k views

What is the difference between SSL vs SSH? Which is more secure?

What is the difference between SSH and SSL? Which one is more secure, if you can compare them together? Which has more potential vulnerabilities?
125
votes
3answers
22k views

Is a rand from /dev/urandom secure for a login key?

Lets say I want to create a cookie for a user. Would simply generating a 1024 bit string by using /dev/urandom, and checking if it already exists (looping until I get a unique one) suffice? Or should ...
123
votes
6answers
46k views

Password Hashing add salt + pepper or is salt enough?

Please Note: I'm aware that the proper method for secure password storage hashing is either scrypt or bcrypt. This question isn't for implementation in actual software, it's for my own understanding. ...
121
votes
7answers
64k views

How should I distribute my public key?

I've just started to use GPG and created a public key. It is kind of pointless if no-one knows about it. How should I distribute it? Should I post it on my profile on Facebook and LinkedIn? How about ...
115
votes
7answers
22k views

Why shouldn't we roll our own?

Why shouldn't we create our own security schemes? I see a lot of questions around here about custom crypto and custom security mechanisms, especially around password hashing. With that in mind, I'm ...
113
votes
6answers
78k views

“Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange” in plain English

Can someone explain to me what Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange is in plain English? I have read in a non-tech news page that Twitter has just implemented this technology which allows two persons to ...
112
votes
4answers
28k views

Recommended # of iterations when using PKBDF2-SHA256?

I'm curious if anyone has any advice or points of reference when it comes to determining how many iterations is 'good enough' when using PBKDF2 (specifically with SHA-256). Certainly, 'good enough' is ...
105
votes
3answers
38k views

How does Google Authenticator work?

Google Authenticator is an alternative to SMS for 2Step verification, installing an app on Android where the codes will be sent. It works without any connectivity; it even works on plane mode. This ...
98
votes
9answers
65k views

Why can we still crack snapchat photos in 12 lines of Ruby?

Just came across this bit of ruby that can be used to decrypt snapchat photos taken out of the cache on a phone, apparently adapted from here. To my surprise, it worked no problem, considering the ...
90
votes
2answers
31k views

What are rainbow tables and how are they used?

Where can I find one? Is there a pot of gold at the end? How do I protect against them? From the Area51 proposal This question was IT Security Question of the Week. Read the Sep 09, 2011 blog ...
87
votes
8answers
222k views

How to determine what type of encoding/encryption has been used?

Is there a way to find what type of encryption/encoding is being used? For example, I am testing a web application which stores the password in the database in an encrypted format (WeJcFMQ/8+8QJ/w0hHh+...
80
votes
3answers
80k views

Now that it is 2015, what SSL/TLS cipher suites should be used in a high security HTTPS environment?

It has become quite difficult to configure an HTTPS service that maintains "the ideal transport layer". How should an HTTPS service be configured to permit some reasonable level of compatibility while ...
78
votes
2answers
19k views

Amount of simple operations that is safely out of reach for all humanity?

Cryptographic primitives usually assert some security level given as number of operations to mount an attack. Hash functions, for example, give different security levels for collision attacks, ...
75
votes
5answers
12k views

What kinds of encryption are _not_ breakable via Quantum Computers?

There's the recent article NSA seeks to build quantum computer that could crack most types of encryption. Now I'm not surprised by the NSA trying anything1, but what slightly baffles me is the word "...
74
votes
5answers
33k views

Is sending password to user email secure?

How secure is sending passwords through email to a user, since email isn't secured by HTTPS. What is the best way to secure it? Should i use encryption?
72
votes
5answers
8k views

Why can't I MitM a Diffie-Hellman key exchange?

After reading the selected answer of "Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange" in plain English 5 times I can't, for the life of me, understand how it protects me from a MitM attack. Given the ...
72
votes
13answers
6k views

VP of IT claims he unhashed 100% of all 16k employees' PWs. Is he lying to us?

I work for a company which has ~16,000 employees. Periodically, our VP of IT sends out a newsletter with "tech-tips" and misc IT stuff. The topic of this week's newsletter was "password security". ...
70
votes
21answers
39k views

Lessons learned and misconceptions regarding encryption and cryptology

Cryptology is such a broad subject that even experienced coders will almost always make mistakes the first few times around. However encryption is such an important topic, often we can't afford to ...
70
votes
3answers
3k views

Did US and UK spy agencies defeat privacy and security on the internet?

This question is meant as a canonical question in regard to the US and UK spy agencies compromising end nodes and encryption between nodes to spy on people they suspect to be terrorists. However, this ...
69
votes
7answers
75k views

Certificate based authentication vs Username and Password authentication

What are the advantages and drawbacks of the certificate based authentication over username and password authentication? I know some, but I would appreciate a structured and detailed answer. UPDATE ...
67
votes
6answers
122k views

Why most people use 256 bit encryption instead of 128 bit?

Isn't 128 bit security enough for most practical applications?
62
votes
5answers
19k views

Why should one not use the same asymmetric key for encryption as they do for signing?

In an answer to a question about RSA and PGP, PulpSpy noted this: It is possible to generate an RSA key pair using GPG (for both encryption and signing -- you should not use the same key for both)....
57
votes
2answers
39k views

How secure is Ubuntu's default full-disk encryption?

How secure is the encryption offered by ubuntu (using the disk utility)? What algorithm is used underneath it? If someone could at least provide a link to some documentation or article regarding that ...
55
votes
5answers
175k views

How can I export my private key from a Java Keytool keystore?

I would like to export my private key from a Java Keytool keystore, so I can use it with openssl. How can I do that?
53
votes
3answers
53k views

What is ECDHE-RSA?

What is the difference between ECDHE-RSA and DHE-RSA? I know that DHE-RSA is (in one sentence) Diffie Hellman signed using RSA keys. Where DH is used for forward secrecy and RSA guards against MITM, ...
53
votes
4answers
106k views

Google Chrome “Your connection to website is encrypted with obsolete cryptography”

Google Chrome is showing new information in the certificate section. Is this a big deal? If so how can I fix it on the server end? EDIT: Thanks for the answers but I'm not skilled in cryptography ...
52
votes
17answers
4k views

Can we still provide confidentiality when cryptography is outlawed?

In certain jurisdictions, use of cryptography by the private sector is limited: e.g. there are reports that in the UAE and other countries not all of the encryption capabilities of the BlackBerry are ...
52
votes
8answers
6k views

Online backup : how could encryption and de-duplication be compatible?

A "soon to enter beta" online backup service, Bitcasa, claims to have both de-duplication (you don't backup something already in the cloud) and client side encryption. http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/...
51
votes
4answers
24k views

What is the use of a client nonce?

After reading Part I of Ross Anderson's book, Security Engineering, and clarifying some topics on Wikipedia, I came across the idea of Client Nonce (cnonce). Ross never mentions it in his book and I'm ...
51
votes
5answers
11k views

Are GUIDs safe for one-time tokens?

I see a lot of sites use GUIDs for password resets, unsubscribe requests and other forms of unique identification. Presumably they are appealing because they are easy to generate, unique, non-...
50
votes
4answers
114k views

Is SHA1 better than md5 only because it generates a hash of 160 bits?

It is well known that SHA1 is recommended more than md5 for hashing since md5 is practically broken as lot of collisions have been found. With the birthday attack, it is possible to get a collision ...
50
votes
6answers
8k views

How do some sites (e.g. online banks) only ask for specific characters from a password without storing it as plaintext?

I thought How can a system enforce a minimum number of changed characters... would answer my question, but it seems this is a different case. When I sign on to my online banking account, I'm prompted ...
49
votes
5answers
67k views

Advantages and disadvantages of Stream versus Block Ciphers

Encryption algorithms such as Blowfish,AES,RC4,DES and Seal are implemented in one of two categories of ciphers. What are the advantages/disadvantages to the type of ciphers?
48
votes
9answers
13k views

Writing my own encryption algorithm [closed]

I am currently studying IT at college (UK college aka not University) and the coursework is boring me to death. I have been coding for quite a while now mainly in OO languages such as C# and Java but ...
47
votes
8answers
6k views

Why is HTTPS not the default protocol?

Why is HTTP still commonly used, instead what I would believe much more secure HTTPS?
47
votes
2answers
5k views

Pre-hash password before applying bcrypt to avoid restricting password length

Good practice is not to unnecessarily restrict password length, so that appropriately-long passphrases (perhaps 35-45 chars for 6/7 dicewords) can be used. (See e.g. Should I have a maximum password ...
46
votes
6answers
9k views

Is using a public-key for logging in to SSH any better than saving a password?

Using a public/private key pair is fairly convenient for logging in to frequented hosts, but if I'm using a key pair with no password, is that any safer (or less safe) than a password? The security ...
46
votes
4answers
67k views

How to estimate the time needed to crack RSA encryption?

How to estimate the time needed to crack RSA encryption? I mean the time needed to crack Rsa encryption with key length of 1024, 2048, 3072, 4096, 5120, 6144, 5120, 7168, 8192, 9216, 10240, 11264, ...
46
votes
1answer
11k views

How does a SIM card prevent cloning?

I have read a few articles about SIM cards, stating that the chip inside them uses some cryptographic magic to prevent people from cloning your number. This to me seems borderline impossible, given ...
45
votes
3answers
4k views

Is Git crowdsourcing cryptographic attacks?

A strong cryptographic hash makes collisions unlikely. Many cryptographic protocols build on that fact. But Git is using SHA-1 hashes as object identifiers. So there are a lot of already computed ...