# Tag Info

## Hot answers tagged asymmetric

282

I dug out my copy of Applied Cryptography to answer this concerning symmetric crypto, 256 is plenty and probably will be for a long long time. Schneier explains; Longer key lengths are better, but only up to a point. AES will have 128-bit, 192-bit, and 256-bit key lengths. This is far longer than needed for the foreseeable future. In fact, we cannot even ...

149

Diffie-Helman is a way of generating a shared secret between two people in such a way that the secret can't be seen by observing the communication. That's an important distinction: You're not sharing information during the key exchange, you're creating a key together. This is particularly useful because you can use this technique to create an encryption ...

67

The reason why RSA keys are so small is that: With every doubling of the RSA key length, decryption is 6-7 times times slower. So this is just another of the security-convenience tradeoffs. Here's a graph: Source: http://www.javamex.com/tutorials/cryptography/rsa_key_length.shtml

64

For one AES is built for three key sizes 128, 192 or 256 bits. Currently, brute-forcing 128 bits is not even close to feasible. Hypothetically, if an AES Key had 129 bits, it would take twice as long to brute-force a 129 bit key than a 128 bit key. This means larger keys of 192 bits and 256 bits would take much much much longer to attack. It would take so ...

58

None, that's why it is called a public key. It can not be used to access anything encrypted for you without solving math problems that are currently prohibitively difficult to solve. It is possible that in the future it may be possible to solve these problems and that would cause the public key to allow messages to be decoded, but there is no current known ...

55

The other answers do an excellent job explaining the maths behind the key exchange. If you'd like a more pictorial representation, nothing beats the excellent paint analogy shown on the Diffie–Hellman key exchange Wikipedia entry: Image is in the public domain

54

If the attacker is able to passively capture data and later gets access to the private key of the certificates (i.e. stealing, heartbleed attack or law enforcement), then the attacker could decode all previously captured data if the encryption key is only derived from the certificate itself. DH key exchange makes it possible to create a key independent from ...

37

It's like one of these: Say you want to secure something in a box. Anyone can close the lock (public key). This means anyone will be able to put something into the box and lock the box (they won't be able to open the lock once it's locked (you just pinch these closed)). The key to open the lock is something only you have (private key). You are the only ...

28

This preference of symmetric cryptography over asymmetric cryptography is based on the idea that asymmetric cryptography uses parametrized mathematical objects and there is a suspicion that such parameters could be specially chosen to make the system weak. For instance, when using Diffie-Hellman, DSA or ElGamal, you have to work modulo a big prime p. A ...

21

The operation at the core of RSA is a modular exponentiation: given input m, compute me modulo n. Although in general this is a one-way permutation of integers modulo n, it does not fulfill all the characteristics needed for generic asymmetric encryption: If e is small and m is small, then me could be smaller than n, at which point the modular ...

21

Diffie Hellman is an algorithm used to establish a shared secret between two parties. It is primarily used as a method of exchanging cryptography keys for use in symmetric encryption algorithms like AES. The algorithm in itself is very simple. Let's assume that Alice wants to establish a shared secret with Bob. Alice and Bob agrees on a prime number, p, ...

18

There are many steps needed to understand the reasons and I will try to guide you through each. 1) Use encryption correctly... With RSA algorithm, Alice and Bob can just share their public keys (public_a, public_b) and keep their private keys (private_a, private_b). Alice can just send Bob the messages which are encrypted by private_a, and Bob can ...

17

Just to expand on a couple bits of info alluded to above, there are basically two risks to consider, neither of them relating to the algorithms (those are safe). First, is incidental data leakage. Do you run slaterockandgravel.com as Mr. Slate but have your key signed fflintstone@slaterockandgravel.com? Did Betty sign your key and you don't want the world ...

15

You can't. This is a fundamental principle of general purpose computing. You're running into Shannon's maxim: The enemy knows the system. One ought design systems under the assumption that the enemy will immediately gain full familiarity with them. Just to make my point completely clear: you're giving someone a car, and asking them to only ever drive ...

14

X.509 is a format for certificates: a certificate is a sequence of bytes which contains, in a specific format, a name and a public key, over which a digital signature is computed and embedded in the certificate. The signer is a Certification Authority which asserts that the public key is indeed owned by the entity known under that name. By verifying the ...

14

You cannot have a secure signature scheme in less than 50 bits. Demonstration: the attacker can just enumerate all sequences of 50 bits until a match is found. Indeed, one point of digital signatures is that the verification algorithm can be computed by just everybody, since it uses only the public key (which, by definition, is public). Best you can hope, ...

13

The key used in HMAC is, by definition, symmetric: the same key is used to compute the MAC value, and to verify the MAC value. Digital signature algorithms are asymmetric, which means that the key for verification is distinct from the key used for generation; this "difference" is strong: the key used for generation cannot be recomputed from the key used for ...

12

"Proving" depends on whether the recipient (Bob) cooperates (i.e. accepts to reveal his private key to the verifier), and also on the type of cryptographic algorithms and details of the key. If Bob cooperates, then he may decrypt the message; this may show that the message "makes sense" when decrypted with Bob's private key, which is a rather strong hint ...

11

I found these videos easy to understand and usefull: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QnD2c4Xovk The second is starting with SSL, but later the guy is speaking about symmetric and asymmetric cryptography: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCvPnwpWVUQ

11

If you want a simpler plain English explanation of DH that can be readily understood by even non-technical people, there is the double locked box analogy. Alice puts a secret in a box and locks it with a padlock that she has the only key to open. She then ships the box to Bob. Bob receives the box, puts a second padlock that only he has the key to on it, ...

10

If it is public it cannot be secret... A key is "a parameter for an algorithm, which concentrates secrecy". This means that the key is not only secret, but, normally, nothing else is (algorithms are known to everybody). A public key is a paradoxic terminology which was coined when asymmetric cryptography was invented. The "real" key is what we call the ...

9

In addition to the great answer by @Lucas, you can make the comparison: Symmetric cryptography is like a door lock. Everyone that has a key can lock and unlock: Asymmetric cryptography is like a common lock or handcuff. Anyone can lock it but only the (private) key unlocks it:

9

The answer to your situation, presented as it is, is that it is impossible unless you make certain assumptions. You have two problems you need to resolve for this to work. For this example, I will use Alice and Bob as examples. You need to have Alice and Bob exchange keys in a secure fashion. This is the easy problem. Any key exchange method like Diffie-...

9

But, you have to publish your public key in order for people to encrypt messages that are intended for you. That is why you must publish your public key and have it signed by people you know (preferably personally). For more information: Web of Trust and Key signing Parties

9

However, the server must store some form of the mailbox password so that the user can be authenticated. Should a security breach occur on the server, wouldn't it be just a matter of time for a determined hacker (and a powerful hacker, if, say, a government desides to be one) to figure out the real mailbox password? Security is about trade-offs. It is ...

8

Processing time, pure and simple. Everything in security is a balancing act between the need for security (keeping the bad people out), and useability (letting the good people in). Encryption is a processing expensive operation even with dedicated hardware for doing the calculations. It simply isn't worth going beyond a certain level of security for ...

8

As far as RSA goes, this provides a good example that can be followed and shows corresponding examples of input and output. This demo application will walk you through the various steps and allow you check the work. Sometimes just clicking your way through something in steps like that will help. For Wikipedia articles, you need to look at the actual ...

8

For signing only, a 512-bit RSA key ought to resist at least a few days, more probably a few weeks, even against determined attackers. This is still "reasonable" as long as you verify the signature "soon". You can imagine that from the point the public key was made public, you have a few minutes, at best hours of security, after which you must consider the ...

8

To answer your questions: {K_AB}**K_B_E is prepended to the message so that the receiver has the symmetric key to decrypt the message. Because the key K_B_E is used only Bob can decrypt the symmetric key and only he can therefore read the message. The next is the hash {h} which is encrypted/signed by the key K_A_D. I assume that K_A_D is the private key of ...

8

Your friend is correct in that private key encryption is not the tool for the job. This answer on Cryptography.SE does a good job of explaining why. Some highlights: Any public-key encryption schemes is bound to increase the size of the data that it enciphers. While there are more efficient schemes, it is safe to say that a symmetric scheme is ...

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