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Date: Mon, 17 Aug 2015 14:10:09 -0700
From: Alex Elsayed <>
Subject: RE: Passwords15 BSidesLV talks

What about Robust AE/MRAE (in Rogaway's definition)?

Since it forbids online enc/dec as a side effect of the definition, does it 
provide the same security benefits? Would AEZ provide the same desirable 
security properties for password-based encryption?

See also: (Robust AE, AEZ) (Relationship between Robust AE and Online)

Greg Zaverucha wrote:

> Jeremy, you understand correctly, and Dennis' summary is accurate.
> With EtM, the attacker can test a password either by decrypting the whole
> ciphertext, or checking the MAC.  In both cases he has to make a pass over
> the whole ciphertext.  In the MtE variant, the MAC is encoded and
> encrypted, so the attacker must make two passes over the ciphertext.  But
> with MtE the defender must decrypt before checking the MAC, which can lead
> to problems. So that's why I wanted to consider both variants.
> Greg
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Dennis E. Hamilton []
> Sent: Saturday, August 15, 2015 10:32 AM
> To:
> Subject: RE: [PHC] Passwords15 BSidesLV talks
> My understanding of the ANT scheme described at
> <>.
> The key to this scheme is that an Encode is such that, without Decode, a
> decryption does not reveal enough about known-plaintext characteristics to
> signal to an attacker that they are on the wrong track or not.  In
> particular, it is not enough to use a single decrypted-trial block to
> determine that the trial key is incorrect.
> This is a big deal in document formats and document container systems that
> have predictable early structure, as in OOXML, ODF, and EPUB documents
> (where the ODF case is fairly notorious because it encrypts document
> components individually and implementations have tended to include known,
> fixed boilerplate components that are independent of document content and
> there are other structural clues such as expecting XML and HTML forms).
> For encrypt-then-MAC, there is the problem that testing a key for failing
> to verify the MAC becomes the next attacker opportunity for "rapid"
> key-trial rejection, especially for short ciphertexts.  Even though the
> defender only has to do this once (with a correct, known key) and the
> attacker is not quite so fortunate, the problem is that we're still
> talking about password-based encryption and the fundamental weakness of
> that remains so long as defender encryption-decryption must remain
> practical.
> The short-message case seems bothersome all around, although one could
> crank up the work-factor parameters of the key derivation operation given
> a short plaintext.  But that is not much compared to making the key
> extremely strong and never reused instead [;<).
>  - Dennis
>  -----Original Message-----
> From: Jeremy Spilman []
> Sent: Saturday, August 15, 2015 08:23
> To:
> Subject: Re: [PHC] Passwords15 BSidesLV talks
> A question I wanted to ask at the talk but didn't get the chance...
> I guess with Encrypt-then-MAC an attacker can still just check the MAC but
> that would involve;
> a) calculating the MAC key, which is typically chained off the encryption
> key possibly with additional work factor
> b) streaming the entire cipher text through the hash function
> Whether this is faster than skipping the MAC key derivation and hash step
> and going straight to decrypting the entire ciphertext and applying the
> ANT I guess could vary. But in any case it's a better lower bound than
> decrypting just one block.
> Is that right?
> [ ... ]

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