david wong

Hey! I'm David, cofounder of zkSecurity and the author of the Real-World Cryptography book. I was previously a crypto architect at O(1) Labs (working on the Mina cryptocurrency), before that I was the security lead for Diem (formerly Libra) at Novi (Facebook), and a security consultant for the Cryptography Services of NCC Group. This is my blog about cryptography and security and other related topics that I find interesting.

Signature forgeries in Golang ECDSA library? posted March 2021

Take a look at the following program that you can run in Golang's playground.

// sign a message
hash, _ := hex.DecodeString("ffffffff00000000ffffffffffffffffbce6faada7179e84f3b9cac2fc632552")
r, s, err := ecdsa.Sign(rand.Reader, privateKey, hash[:])
if err != nil {

// print the signature
signature := r.Bytes()
signature = append(signature, s.Bytes()...)
fmt.Println("signature:", hex.EncodeToString(signature))

// verify the signature
if !ecdsa.Verify(&privateKey.PublicKey, hash[:], r, s) {
    panic("wrong signature")
} else {
    fmt.Println("signature valid for", hex.EncodeToString(hash[:]))

// I modify the message, this should invalidate the signature
var hash2 [32]byte
hash2[31] = 1 
if !ecdsa.Verify(&privateKey.PublicKey, hash2[:], r, s) {
    panic("wrong signature")
} else {
    fmt.Println("signature valid for", hex.EncodeToString(hash2[:]))

this should print out:

signature: 4f3e60dc53ab470d23e82567909f01557f01d521a0b2ae96a111d107741d8ebb885332d790f0691bdc900661bf40c595a07750fa21946ed6b88c61c43fbfc1f3
signature valid for ffffffff00000000ffffffffffffffffbce6faada7179e84f3b9cac2fc632552
signature valid for 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001

Can you tell what's the problem? Is ECDSA broken? Is Golang's standard library broken? Is everything fine?

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Yeah, both ECDSA and DSA have fun edge cases on verification. Thankfully these require generally crafted hashes which are difficult to craft from valid messages :)

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