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Date: Thu, 09 Jan 2014 00:27:37 +0000
From: "Poul-Henning Kamp" <>
To:, Bill Cox <>
Subject: Re: [PHC] Lyra, Password Key Derivation Based On The Sponge Construction

In message <>
, Bill Cox writes:


Since I havn't been very active on this list, I apologize for not
adding a disclaimer in my email to the effect that I am one of the
persons on the judging panel of the PHC, just to alert people to
where I'm coming from.

In other words:  I'm not a total NOOB in this line of work  :-)

The point(s) I tried to make is much finer than the broad strokes
you paint them with:

You are absolutely right that there is no way to get more entropy
than we are offered, and that was *exactly* my point:

Any algorithm which sets up a big state structure, needs to pay a
lot of attention to how to lightly dust it with what little entropy
is available *and* at the same time pay attention to not making
it unnecessarily easy to deduce the state using covert channels.

In your RC4 example, you seem to overlook that the salt is not
unknown to an attacker, and with a 20/256 bits ratio of unknown to
known bits, only the 20 bits really count:  Knowing the salt, the
attacker know exactly where the 20 bits _went_, and only needs to
deduce what they _did_.


PS: This is not going to be a decisive factor in my judging, but it
one aspect that will add grains to one or the other side of the
scales for me.

PPS:  I'm not entering a contestant, MD5crypt was enough for me ;-)

Poul-Henning Kamp       | UNIX since Zilog Zeus 3.20
phk@...eBSD.ORG         | TCP/IP since RFC 956
FreeBSD committer       | BSD since 4.3-tahoe    
Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by incompetence.

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