Hey! I'm David, the author of the Real-World Cryptography book. I'm a crypto engineer at O(1) Labs on the Mina cryptocurrency, previously 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.

more on the next page...

# Freak Attack posted March 2015

If you're up to date on crypto news you will tell me I'm slow. But here it is, my favorite explanation of the recent Freak Attack is the one from Matthew Green here

TLS uses a cipher suite during the handshake so that old machines can still chat with new machines that use new protocols. In this list of ciphers there is one called "export suite" that is a 512bits RSA public key. It was made by the government back then to spy on foreigners since 512bits is "easy" to factor. The vulnerability comes from the fact that you can still ask a server to use that 512bits public key (even though it should have been removed a long time ago). This allows you to make a man in the middle attack where you don't have to possess a spoofed certificate. You can just change the cipher request of the client during the handshake so that he would ask for that 512bits key. 36% of the servers out there would accept that and reply with such a key. From here if we are in the middle we can just factor the key and use that to generate our own private key and see all the following exchange in clear.

comment on this story

# How to memorise a 20 item (and upto 1000 item) grocery list. posted March 2015

someone asked on Quora: What can I learn/know right now in 10 minutes that will be useful for the rest of my life?

And someone delivered! It's called the peg method, and it allows you to remember words in the long term really quickly. I knew about other techniques like creating a story where each words is like a double linked list of event or using each words as obstacles in a mental path. But this one seems way more useful and practical. But contrary to the other techniques, you have to memorize a few things before being able to use it:

I know it's not cryptography :) but from the header:

This is my blog about cryptography and security and other related topics that I find interesting.

Thanks @Loïs!

comment on this story

# Kasumi posted March 2015

KASUMI is a block cipher used in UMTS, GSM, and GPRS mobile communications systems. In UMTS, KASUMI is used in the confidentiality (f8) and integrity algorithms (f9) with names UEA1 and UIA1, respectively. In GSM, KASUMI is used in the A5/3 key stream generator and in GPRS in the GEA3 key stream generator.

KASUMI

(and Katsumi/Katsuni is a very famous french porn actress)

comment on this story

# The story behind Schneier's law posted March 2015

...what I think of as Schneier's Law: "any person can invent a security system so clever that she or he can't think of how to break it."

It's pretty old but 4 years ago Schneier wrote a bit about the story behind it: check it out here.

comment on this story

# Invisibility glasses posted March 2015

AVG will reveal its new product: Invisibility glasses at pepcom barcelona.

It seems to be some kind of glasses you wear so that cameras and facial recognition softwares won't recognize you, it works by displaying lights that are only visible to cameras and not human eyes

comment on this story

# Keep in touch with crypto posted February 2015

I have collected a list of 60 blogs about cryptography and security. If you feel like one is missing or one shouldn't be here please tell me! The list is here

Here's the list if you hate RSS:

# The ghetto way of extracting the private key of superfish posted February 2015

A realy entertaining piece by Errata Security where Robert Graham ghetto reverse the current controversial superfish of Lenovo.

The goal is to set the right break point before it actually infects your machine -- reversers have been known to infect themselves this way.

his ghetto way of reversing is first to infect himself with the "virus" and then using procdump to dump the process memory. Then dumping all the strings that the memory contains with the tool strings and voila. You have have the private certificate in the clear.

But the private certificate is protected by a passphrase. But apparently not, it was just protected by a password contained in the memory in clear as well...

I advise you to read the article, it comes with screenshots and nice commands that use text processing tools:

grep "^[a-z]*\$" super.txt | sort | uniq > super.dict

spoiler alert, the password to protect the certificate is komodia the name of the company who created this mitm adware.

Note that if they would have used an RSA whitebox this would not have happened... so quickly.

comment on this story

# Big Numbers posted February 2015

An amazing story by Scott Aaronson on Big Numbers.

Keywords: exponential growth, NP-complete problems, Ackermann sequence, Turing Machine, Halting Problem, Busy Beaver,

some quotes :)

In an old joke, two noblemen vie to name the bigger number. The first, after ruminating for hours, triumphantly announces "Eighty-three!" The second, mightily impressed, replies "You win."

Consider, for example, the oft-repeated legend of the Grand Vizier in Persia who invented chess. The King, so the legend goes, was delighted with the new game, and invited the Vizier to name his own reward. The Vizier replied that, being a modest man, he desired only one grain of wheat on the first square of a chessboard, two grains on the second, four on the third, and so on, with twice as many grains on each square as on the last. The innumerate King agreed, not realizing that the total number of grains on all 64 squares would be 264-1, or 18.6 quintillion—equivalent to the world’s present wheat production for 150 years.

Rado called this maximum the Nth "Busy Beaver" number. (Ah yes, the early 1960’s were a more innocent age.)

To solve the Halting Problem for super machines, we’d need an even more powerful machine: a ‘super duper machine.’ And to solve the Halting Problem for super duper machines, we’d need a ‘super duper pooper machine.’

If we could run at 280,000,000 meters per second, there’d be no need for a special theory of relativity: it’d be obvious to everyone that the faster we go, the heavier and squatter we get, and the faster time elapses in the rest of the world. If we could live for 70,000,000 years, there’d be no theory of evolution, and certainly no creationism: we could watch speciation and adaptation with our eyes, instead of painstakingly reconstructing events from fossils and DNA. If we could bake bread at 20,000,000 degrees Kelvin, nuclear fusion would be not the esoteric domain of physicists but ordinary household knowledge.

But do people fear big numbers? Certainly they do. I’ve met people who don’t know the difference between a million and a billion, and don’t care. We play a lottery with ‘six ways to win!,’ overlooking the twenty million ways to lose. We yawn at six billion tons of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere each year, and speak of ‘sustainable development’ in the jaws of exponential growth.

comment on this story