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Don’t Hash Secrets

January 27, 2015

Benlog

Building secure systems is difficult. It would be nice if we had a bunch of well-designed crypto building blocks that we could assemble in all sorts of ways and be certain that they would, no matter what, yield a secure system overall. There are, in fact, folks working on such things at a theoretical level [Universal Composability].

But even if you had these building blocks, you would still have to use them in their intended way. A component can only be secure under certain well-defined circumstances, not for any use that happens to look similar.

One area of secure protocol development that seems to consistently yield poor design choices is the use of hash functions. What I’m going to say is not 100% correct, but it is on the conservative side of correct, so if you follow the rule, you (probably) can’t go wrong. You might be…

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