On Mar 2, 2009, at 12:56 PM, Santiago Aguiar wrote:
All the bits in a cryptographically secure hash function are "equally
good". So, yes, you can construct a shorter hash by simply discarding
bits from a longer one.
Jerry Leichter wrote:
Not specifically, but you can simply take the first 64 bits from a
larger cryptographically secure hash function.
OK, I didn't know if it was right to do just that. We were thinking
to use that hash in an HMAC so the TCU and SO can know that they
were originated from someone who knows Kc and to protect it's
integrity (see below).
I would suggest that if you're going to build an HMAC, that you shrink
the result as the very last step: Do the internal calculations using
the full hash function. I don't see an obvious attack from doing it
the other way, but it just seems riskier.
Look around for "deterministic random number generators" or something
like that. I'm sure you know this, but do *not* attempt to use a
generator designed for statistical purposes - those have good
"randomness" properties but are not secure against deliberate attack.
With a hash, you need to be a bit fancier since, in and of itself,
the hash has no secret information. This can be done, but it would
be trickier; I'd go with the block cipher.
Best if we can avoid trickier things!. I was thinking of a hash so
maybe we could reuse the ones we were using on other parts of the
protocol (since probably asking to include support for a larger set
of primitives on all devices would be resisted); but we can, of
course, just require that the TCU generates a random challenge and
leave the mechanism to be defined by each implementation.
Note that there are published algorithms - even part of FIPS
standards - that do exactly what you need: Take a single random
seed and safely stretch it into a large number of random values.
The ones in the standards - and perhaps most of the ones out there
- are old and probably not up to contemporary standards.
Will take a look at them, thanks.
You're trying to produce a keyed hash function (or MAC) from a non-
keyed hash function. Just pre-pending the secret key is not
necessarily secure. I'd suggest using HMAC (with Kt the key, of
Yes, I was aware of this, the H should be an HMAC. AFAIK it
shouldn't be a problem, just some extra cycles and doing it the
right way, right?
OK, there is a distinction between a signature and a MAC (Message
Authentication Code). The significant difference is that it's
possible to prove to a third party that someone signed something
without actually having the ability to sign things yourself. (Think
RSA signatures: The public key is all you need to prove that
something was signed with the corresponding private key; but it's
insufficient to sign anything.) A MAC is sufficient for your purpose.
The 64 bits limitation is because the protocol only has 1 slot to
include *some* auth information, and it's a 64 bits field (yes, it
has been defined without knowing what exactly will go there ;)). The
protocol was defined by a working group and trying to changing it
can be... complicated... unless we have obvious arguments to show
that it's insufficient.
From that point, Kc is stored in SO and TCU, and every message
interchanged between the SO and TCU goes signed with Kc (for this
we need a H with max. 64 bits output...).
Signed? How? I don't understand the 64-bit limitation. I'm not
sure a 64-bit signing key is sufficient these days.
By signed I meant doing a HMAC(Kc, body of message (with auth field
in 0, sic)). Would it be OK in this case to truncate the output of
ie. a HMAC-SHA1 to 64 bits? My crypto/math is not good enough to
understand how hard would be in this case to modify a msg to reuse a
It's fine to truncate the output of a MAC computation. In fact, there
good reasons for doing so in some situations, independent of the
available space: By discarding information, it makes certain attacks
harder. You'll see people immediately jump in with "but the birthday
paradox says you lose half your bits", which is true for a hash, but
*not* for a MAC, where the attacker doesn't have access to the key.
You're welcome. I hope they're helpful, but don't rely on them too
much - my quick response on a mailing list isn't a serious security
analysis of the protocol and implementation.
Thanks for your comments Jerry!
The Cryptography Mailing List
Unsubscribe by sending "unsubscribe cryptography" to majord...@metzdowd.com