# Desirable Qualities of Algorithms and Keys

Video Activity
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Time
7 hours 50 minutes
Difficulty
Beginner
CEU/CPE
8
Video Transcription
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>> Hello. We've got an initialization vector.
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We've got an algorithm,
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and we've got our keys.
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But it's probably worth mentioning
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some desirable qualities of these things.
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I don't have any desirable qualities of
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an initialization vector written here.
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But when we talked about that earlier,
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we want our initialization vectors to be long enough.
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That's true of keys as well.
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Long enough means that based on the data,
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we provide adequate security without training
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too much performance or other costs.
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That decision is based on risk management.
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For our algorithms, we want the following.
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First of all, confusion,
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which means good, strong,
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complex math in substitution.
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If you look at my math functions,
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they are not the most sophisticated functions,
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so we need confusion.
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Next is diffusion.
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This means that interspersed with the ciphertext,
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we had plain texts so that it's more
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difficult to reverse and get an easy result.
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It just adds to the complexity.
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There's also something called chaining.
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Sometimes you'll hear about cipher block chaining.
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Chaining simply means output from
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one function is used to input to the next.
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But keep in mind that with the chaining algorithm,
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you can have errors that are cascading or propagated
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throughout because each output
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from one function effects the next.
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[NOISE] If we go back to our formula,
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plain tags plus initialization factor
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plus algorithm plus key equals ciphertext.
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Let's say that I take the data of
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the plain text and I chunk
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the first block into 256 bit block,
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and my ciphertext that gets
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produced is the ciphertext for block 1.
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Now, we chunk data into block 2.
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But what is interesting is that block
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2 is about to go through this same process.
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But the initialization vector that is used on block 2
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is actually the ciphertext
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that was produced from block 1.
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The output from the first block
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is used as input for the second block.
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That produces ciphertext from block
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2 that uses input for block 3.
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That is the chaining process.
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Another desirable characteristic that
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helps with the complexity is permutations.
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This is where you put the data
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through multiple permutations arounds.
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later scenes for data encryption standard.
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It would chunk data into 64 bit blocks,
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and each block would go through
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the encryption process 16 times.
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When we say they're 16 permutations with DES,
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now DES was broken and it's
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actually used a 56 bit key for its encryption process.
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When that happened, we went to Triple DES.
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Which Triple DES?
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That means instead of 16 permutations,
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each block went through 40 permutations
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before it was encrypted,
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we moved on to the next block.
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In that case, Triple DES was a processing hog.
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You wouldn't really want to use triple DES
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normally because of the sheer
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>> That's why AES became much more
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popular and so much less resource intensive.
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But the number of permutations as the complexity.
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You have to ask, how much is enough?
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Then the last bullet point here,
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undesirable qualities of an algorithm is that we
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want our algorithms to be
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an open source and publicly known.
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There's a big discussion in the privacy and
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software development community about what is better,
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open source or closed source?
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Let's look at Unix versus Windows.
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Unix is open source code.
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You can look at the code and you can
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manipulate it to work for your environment.
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You can test it. There are no secrets.
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Why? Well, this way the community can examine,
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tear it apart, and put it back together stronger.
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With more people working to create a better product,
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the better the product will be.
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Well, if you can look at Microsoft,
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their philosophy is that if
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other people can't see the code,
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then they can't break the code.
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But obviously people have
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been able to break the Microsoft code.
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It hasn't worked as well as they probably intended.
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Their philosophy is one of
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the security through obscurity.
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If you can't see it, you can't break it.
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But it doesn't work.
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Our preference on this exam and
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most other exams you might take is to have openness.
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You should have a publicly known,
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tried and true algorithm as your choice.
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That is better than a proprietary secret algorithm
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and is based on a principle
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>> called Kerckhoff's principle.
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>> I may not have had his name
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spelled exactly right on the side.
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But that's what the principle is called.
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The principles as the algorithm he open.
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The cryptography community will examine
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your algorithm and make it better.
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Now the desirable qualities
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>> for keys are just as follows.
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>> We want them to be long,
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and that's just long enough.
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We want them to be random,
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and we want our keys to be secret.
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If our algorithm is going to be open,
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then the key has to be secret.
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Once we have all this,
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it's the basis upon which will build
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everything that we'll do in the rest of the class.
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