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Vulnerable Invisible Salamanders and You: A Tale of Encryption Weakness
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Johannes Bauer
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Johannes Bauer,
User Rank: Author
7/23/2020 | 1:27:51 PM
The difficulty of cryptographic constructions
The story sounds quite intriguing. I agree with the author that it's usually not cryptographic primitives that fail, but instead constructions, protocols and/or implementations. Similar to how authentication is secure, block ciphers are secure, but authenticate-then-encrypt might give way to padding oracle attacks.

In the text and linked BlackHat synopsis, the author describes how multiple messages under an AEAD scheme like AES-GCM can be decrypted successfully by multiple keys. I'd say it is unsurprising they decrypt (any key will decrypt the message, just most of the messages would be garbage), but for the security properties of any AEAD construction to hold, the authentication tag should be invalid for the message afterwards. The text reads like the author may have found a way where in specific constructions this is not the case, so I am very excited to read more details about the attack.

The number one reason why I love applied cryptography. You never stop learning :-)

Best, Johannes


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