Perimeter
2/8/2012
11:10 PM
Taher Elgamal
Taher Elgamal
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

How Can We Gracefully Update Crypto?

Cryptographic methods at any point in time will become weak at some point due to the advances made in computing

The recently disclosed weakness in the RSA keys found on the Web makes one rethink the strategy of how to use cryptography on a large scale.

In fact, a cryptographic algorithm can become weak or unacceptable at any point in time. What is also true is that all cryptographic methods used in practice at any point in time will become weak at some point in the future due to the advances made in computing over the years.

Since the early days in modern crypto, we knew that we would have to update the methods we use on a regular basis. Unless we use an extremely large size key -- which is not very practical, obviously -- we would need to update symmetric keys from 128- to 256 to higher values, and similarly for asymmetric keys. The experience we had a few years ago with the discovered MD5 weaknesses did not seem to change the way we look at the use of crypto.

Someday we may be able to gracefully increase key sizes without major disruptions, but what happens if an algorithm is known to be weak as was the case with MD5. Can we perhaps use a backup certificate with a different algorithm that is created at the same time and is used when the primary certificate used a weak algorithm?

Maybe someday.

Recognized in the industry as the "inventor of SSL," Dr. Taher Elgamal led the SSL efforts at Netscape. He also wrote the SSL patent and promoted SSL as the Internet security standard within standard committees and the industry. Dr. Elgamal invented several industry and government standards in data security and digital signatures area, including the DSS government standard for digital signatures. He holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-2595
Published: 2014-08-31
The device-initialization functionality in the MSM camera driver for the Linux kernel 2.6.x and 3.x, as used in Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC) Android contributions for MSM devices and other products, enables MSM_CAM_IOCTL_SET_MEM_MAP_INFO ioctl calls for an unrestricted mmap interface, which all...

CVE-2013-2597
Published: 2014-08-31
Stack-based buffer overflow in the acdb_ioctl function in audio_acdb.c in the acdb audio driver for the Linux kernel 2.6.x and 3.x, as used in Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC) Android contributions for MSM devices and other products, allows attackers to gain privileges via an application that lever...

CVE-2013-2598
Published: 2014-08-31
app/aboot/aboot.c in the Little Kernel (LK) bootloader, as distributed with Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC) Android contributions for MSM devices and other products, allows attackers to overwrite signature-verification code via crafted boot-image load-destination header values that specify memory ...

CVE-2013-2599
Published: 2014-08-31
A certain Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC) patch to the NativeDaemonConnector class in services/java/com/android/server/NativeDaemonConnector.java in Code Aurora Forum (CAF) releases of Android 4.1.x through 4.3.x enables debug logging, which allows attackers to obtain sensitive disk-encryption pas...

CVE-2013-6124
Published: 2014-08-31
The Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC) init scripts in Code Aurora Forum (CAF) releases of Android 4.1.x through 4.4.x allow local users to modify file metadata via a symlink attack on a file accessed by a (1) chown or (2) chmod command, as demonstrated by changing the permissions of an arbitrary fil...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
This episode of Dark Reading Radio looks at infosec security from the big enterprise POV with interviews featuring Ron Plesco, Cyber Investigations, Intelligence & Analytics at KPMG; and Chris Inglis & Chris Bell of Securonix.