TThe Data Encryption Standard is a previously predominant algorithm for the encryption of electronic data. It was highly influential in the advancement of modern cryptography in the academic world. Developed in the early 1970s at IBM and based on an earlier design by Horst Feistel, the algorithm was submitted to the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) following the agency's invitation to propose a candidate for the protection of sensitive, unclassified electronic government data. In 1976, after consultation with the National Security Agency (NSA), the NBS eventually selected a slightly modified version, which was published as an official Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) for the United States in 1977. The publication of an NSA-approved encryption standard simultaneously resulted in its quick international adoption and widespread academic scrutiny. Controversies arose out of classified design elements, a relatively short key length of the symmetric-key block cipher design, and the involvement of the NSA, nourishing suspicions about a backdoor. While these suspicions eventually have turned out to be unfounded, the intense academic scrutiny the algorithm received over time led to the modern understanding of block ciphers and their cryptanalysis.
DES is now considered to be insecure for many applications. This is chiefly due to the 56-bit key size being too small; in January, 1999, distributed.net and the Electronic Frontier Foundation collaborated to publicly break a DES key in 22 hours and 15 minutes. There are also some analytical results which demonstrate theoretical weaknesses in the cipher, although they are infeasible to mount in practice. The algorithm is believed to be practically secure in the form of Triple DES, although there are theoretical attacks. In recent years, the cipher has been superseded by the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Furthermore, DES has been withdrawn as a standard by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (formerly the National Bureau of Standards).
RSA is an algorithm for public-key cryptography that is based on the presumed difficulty of factoring large integers, the factoring problem. RSA stands for Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir and Leonard Adleman, who first publicly described it in 1978. A user of RSA creates and then publishes the product of two large prime numbers, along with an auxiliary value, as their public key. The prime factors must be kept secret. Anyone can use the public key to encrypt a message, but with currently published methods, if the public key is large enough, only someone with knowledge of the prime factors can feasibly decode the message. Whether breaking RSA encryption is as hard as factoring is an open question known as the RSA problem.
A cryptographic hash function is a hash function that can be defined as a deterministic procedure that takes an arbitrary block of data and returns a fixed-size bit string, the (cryptographic) hash value, such that an accidental or intentional change to the data will change the hash value. The data to be encoded is often called the "message," and the hash value is sometimes called the message digest or simply digest.
The ideal cryptographic hash function has four main or significant properties:
- it is easy to compute the hash value for any given message
- it is infeasible to generate a message that has a given hash
- it is infeasible to modify a message without changing the hash
- it is infeasible to find two different messages with the same has
Cryptographic hash functions have many information security applications, notably in digital signatures, message authentication codes (MACs), and other forms of authentication. They can also be used as ordinary hash functions, to index data in hash tables, for fingerprinting, to detect duplicate data or uniquely identify files, and as checksums to detect accidental data corruption. Indeed, in information security contexts, cryptographic hash values are sometimes called (digital) fingerprints, checksums, or just hash values, even though all these terms stand for functions with rather different properties and purposes.
The MD5 Message-Digest Algorithm is a widely used cryptographic hash function that produces a 128-bit (16-byte) hash value. Specified in RFC 1321, MD5 has been employed in a wide variety of security applications, and is also commonly used to check data integrity. MD5 was designed by Ron Rivest in 1991 to replace an earlier hash function, MD4. An MD5 hash is typically expressed as a 32-digit hexadecimal number.
However, it has since been shown that MD5 is not collision resistant; as such, MD5 is not suitable for applications like SSL certificates or digital signatures that rely on this property. In 1996, a flaw was found with the design of MD5, and while it was not a clearly fatal weakness, cryptographers began recommending the use of other algorithms, such as SHA-1—which has since been found also to be vulnerable. In 2004, more serious flaws were discovered in MD5, making further use of the algorithm for security purposes questionable—specifically, a group of researchers described how to create a pair of files that share the same MD5 checksum. Further advances were made in breaking MD5 in 2005, 2006, and 2007. In December 2008, a group of researchers used this technique to fake SSL certificate validity, and US-CERT now says that MD5 "should be considered cryptographically broken and unsuitable for further use." and most U.S. government applications now require the SHA-2 family of hash functions.
In cryptography, SHA-1 is a cryptographic hash function designed by the United States National Security Agency and published by the United States NIST as a U.S. Federal Information Processing Standard. SHA stands for "secure hash algorithm". The three SHA algorithms are structured differently and are distinguished as SHA-0, SHA-1, and SHA-2. SHA-1 is very similar to SHA-0, but corrects an error in the original SHA hash specification that led to significant weaknesses. The SHA-0 algorithm was not adopted by many applications. SHA-2 on the other hand significantly differs from the SHA-1 hash function.
SHA-1 is the most widely used of the existing SHA hash functions, and is employed in several widely used security applications and protocols, as well as a consistency checker in Git. In 2005, security flaws were identified in SHA-1, namely that a mathematical weakness might exist, indicating that a stronger hash function would be desirable. Although no successful attacks have yet been reported on the SHA-2 variants, they are algorithmically similar to SHA-1 and so efforts are underway to develop improved alternatives. A new hash standard, SHA-3, is currently under development — an ongoing NIST hash function competition is scheduled to end with the selection of a winning function in 2012.
In cryptography, HMAC (Hash-based Message Authentication Code) is a specific construction for calculating a message authentication code (MAC) involving a cryptographic hash function in combination with a secret key. As with any MAC, it may be used to simultaneously verify both the data integrity and the authenticity of a message. Any cryptographic hash function, such as MD5 or SHA-1, may be used in the calculation of an HMAC; the resulting MAC algorithm is termed HMAC-MD5 or HMAC-SHA1 accordingly. The cryptographic strength of the HMAC depends upon the cryptographic strength of the underlying hash function, the size of its hash output length in bits, and on the size and quality of the cryptographic key.
An iterative hash function breaks up a message into blocks of a fixed size and iterates over them with a compression function. For example, MD5 and SHA-1 operate on 512-bit blocks. The size of the output of HMAC is the same as that of the underlying hash function (128 or 160 bits in the case of MD5 or SHA-1, respectively), although it can be truncated if desired.
The definition and analysis of the HMAC construction was first published in 1996 by Mihir Bellare, Ran Canetti, and Hugo Krawczyk, who also wrote RFC 2104. This paper also defined a variant called NMAC that is rarely if ever used. FIPS PUB 198 generalizes and standardizes the use of HMACs. HMAC-SHA-1 and HMAC-MD5 are used within the IPsec and TLS protocols.