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{ Category Archives } Cryptology

Financially Supporting Open Crypto

In April 2014, Heartbleed shook the Internet. OpenSSL had introduced a feature called "TLS Heartbeats" Heartbeats allow for a client-encrypted session to remain open between the client and the server, without the need to renegotiate a new connection. In theory, the feature is sound. Heartbeats should minimize load on busy servers, and improve responsiveness on […]

Reasonable SSH Security For OpenSSH 6.0 Or Later

As many of you have probably seen, Stribik AndrĂ¡s wrote a post titled Secure Secure Shell. It's made the wide rounds across the Internet, and has seen a good, positive discussion about OpenSSH security. It's got people thinking about their personal SSH keys, as well as the differences between ECC and RSA, why the /etc/ssh/moduli […]

Verifying Keybase Identities

When using Keybase, occasionally, people will track your identity. This has cryptographic value. Your identity on Keybase is based on what you do online and how long you have done it. As people track you, they cryptographically sign your Keybase identity. This creates a snapshot in time that states you've taken the precautions to verify […]

Keybase and The PGP Web of Trust

Recently, I have been playing with my Keybase account, and I thought I would weigh in on my thoughts about it compared to the PGP Web of Trust (WoT). The PGP WoT tries to solve the following two problems directly: You have the correct key of the person to whom you wish to communicate. You […]

SHA512crypt Versus Bcrypt

On the Internet, mostly in crypto circles, you'll see something like the following in a comment, forum post, on a mailing list, other otherwise: Do not use fast hashes to store passwords on disk. Use bcrypt. In most cases, however, the understanding of why to use bcrypt isn't entirely clear. You'll hear the standard answer […]

Super Size The Strength Of Your OpenSSH Private Keys

In a previous post, about 18 months ago, I blogged about how you can increase the strength of your OpenSSH private keys by using openssl(1) to convert them to PKCS#8 format. However, as of OpenSSH verison 6.5, there is a new private key format for private keys, as well as a new key type. The […]

Use /dev/random Instead Of /dev/null

While writing a shell script the other day, I was redirecting some output to /dev/null, as normal, when something dawned on me. Why don't I redirect my output to /dev/random instead? After all, both Linux random devices are writable by everyone on the system: $ ls -l /dev/*random crw-rw-rw- 1 root root 1, 8 Nov […]

The Bitmessage Proof Of Work

I've been on the Bitmessage network roughly since it was released. Maybe only a month or two later. One thing that has had me intrigued, although I've never really paid attnetion to ut until now, is Bitmessage's proof-of-work puzzle. A proof-of-work puzzle is a puzzle your computer solves to generally gain access to some resource. […]

Using The Bitmessage Storage Service

While hanging out on the "privacy" channel on Bitmessage, someone sent the following: "You have no files saved. For instructions please send a message to BM-2cUqBbiJhTCQsTeocfocNP5WCRcH28saPU with the subject 'help'." This is actually pretty cool. No doubt should you call into question a faceless storage provider, but I thought I would play around with it. […]

Where Cryptographic Hashing Algorithms Fail

What Is A Cryptographic Hashing Algorithm? Cryptographic hashing algorithms are one-way functions that produce a message digest that represents a given input. Because the keyspace is so astromically large, it should be practically infeasible to find a different input that represents the same digest. The input is typically referred to as the message while the […]

Playing Card Ciphers

For the past couple of weeks, I've been focused heavily on hand ciphers for field agents. Although I'm certainly no expert on cryptography, aside from the One Time Pad (OTP), I've had a hard time finding any hand cipher that would be considered secure in the computer age. It's certainly no doubt that field agents […]

Talon

I've been obsessing over the past couple weeks trying to improve Bruce Schneier's solitaire cipher, aka "Pontifex". The more I think about it, the more I realize that there just isn't a lot that can be done about the bias of Pontifex without severely slowing down the already slow algorithm. So, instead of trying to […]

What's The Matter With PGP?

http://blog.cryptographyengineering.com/2014/08/whats-matter-with-pgp.html has been making its way around crypto circles recently. Enough so, that I figured I would comment by posting a reply on my own blog. This post is written by cryptographer Matthew D. Green. As a result, even though I've never heard of Dr. Green, when I read the post, I was expecting something […]

Entropy As A Service

Back in October 2012, I announced hundun.ae7.st. It's an "entropy server" that delivers encrypted random bits that are indistinguishable from true random, directly to your GNU/Linux input entropy pool. Per the Linux CSPRNG source code, the bits in the input entropy pool are then cryptographically hashed with SHA1 before sending the bits to the blocking […]

The Linux Random Number Generator

Introduction There is a lot of misinformation out there about /dev/random and /dev/urandom with regards to the Linux kernel. Unfortunately, not even the random(4) manpage seems to get it right. So, rather than argue with everyone on the Internet, I'll post the inner workings of the Linux kernel with respect to randomness here. TL;DR If […]