Hey! I'm David, the author of the Real-World Cryptography book. I'm a crypto engineer at O(1) Labs on the Mina cryptocurrency, previously I was the security lead for Diem (formerly Libra) at Novi (Facebook), and a security consultant for the Cryptography Services of NCC Group. This is my blog about cryptography and security and other related topics that I find interesting.

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encryption with a one letter XOR? Really? posted April 2015

So there is this app that encrypts your data on your mobile, in case it ends up in the wrong hands. Sounds good. And then there is this guy who took a look at it and figured out the data was just XORed with a 128bit keys consisting of only 4s. If the data is longer than 128bits? Let's not encrypt it!

I don't know how legit it is, especially considering how easy it is to just write aes(something) but here you go

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Unix command of the day: Tee posted April 2015

The tee command allow you to write to a file and still display the result in output.

For exemple

ls

display the content of the current folder in stdout (the terminal)

ls > file.txt

saves that in a file file.txt

ls | tee file.txt

saves that in a file file.txt and displays in stdout at the same time

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Truecrypt report posted April 2015

Some news about the Truecrypt open audit: the report is out.

The TL;DR is that based on this audit, Truecrypt appears to be a relatively well-designed piece of crypto software. The NCC audit found no evidence of deliberate backdoors, or any severe design flaws that will make the software insecure in most instances.

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I'm officialy an intern at Cryptography Services posted April 2015

I haven't been posting for a while, and this is because I was busy looking for a place in Chicago. I finally found it! And I just accomplished my first day at Cryptography Services, or rather at Matasano since I'm in their office, or rather at NCC Group since everything must be complicated :D

I arrived and received a bag of swags along with a brand new macbook pro! That's awesome except for the fact that I spent way too much time trying to understand how to properly use it. A few things I've discovered:

• you can pipe to pbcopy and use pbpaste to play with the clipboard
• open . in the console opens the current directory in Finder (on windows with cygwin I use explorer .)
• in the terminal preference: check "use option as meta key" to have all the unix shortcuts in the terminal (alt+b, ctrl+a, etc...)
• get homebrew to install all the things

I don't know what I'll be blogging about next, because I can't really disclose the work I'll be doing there. But so far the people have been really nice and welcoming, the projects seem to be amazingly interesting (and yeah, I will be working on OpenSSL!! (the audit is public so that I can say :D)). The city is also amazing and I've been really impressed by the food. Every place, every dish and every bite has been a delight :)

Cryptool... posted March 2015

I just discovered Cryptool. I can't believed I didn't know about that earlier.

The CrypTool Portal raises awareness and interest in encryption techniques for everyone. All learning programs in the CrypTool project are open source and available for free. The CrypTool project develops the world most-widespread free e-learning programs in the area of cryptography and cryptoanalysis.

On their main page (cryptool portal) you have links to: Cryptool 1, Cryptool 2, JCryptool, Cryptool Online and Mystery Twister C3. Each project is a huge amount of information that was gathered by a group of volunteer (so yeah, for free). There are tons of tutorials and ways to play with ciphers to understand them. There is even a coppersmith and boneh-durfee explanation/implementation of the attacks I implemented these last months... This is huge. I feel like I'm just discovering the tip of the iceberg and it's all really confusing so here's a recap of what is everything, for me and for you :)

Cryptool 1

CrypTool 1 (CT1) was the first version of CrypTool. It was released in 1998 and allows to experiment with different cryptographic algorithms. CT1 runs under Windows. CT1 has two successors: CT2 and JCT.

It doesn't seem like it's useful to dig into this one since CT2 and JCT are supposed to be the updated versions. I've still installed it and it looks really old! But it's super complete and super fast so... still super useful.

Cryptool 2

CrypTool 2 (CT2) supports visual programming and execution of cascades of cryptographic procedures. CT2 also runs under Windows.

I skimmed through it seeing no resemblance to CT1. I have to spend more time with it but CT1 seemed way more educational and complete...

JCryptool

JCrypTool (JCT) is platform-independent and runs under Linux, Mac and Windows.

Haven't tried it yet but it looks like a multiplatform CT2

Cryptool Online

CrypTool-Online (CTO) was released in spring 2009. This tool allows to try out different algorithms in a browser / smartphone.

I'm gonna be honest here, not really nice compared to CT1 and CT2. Pretty limited.

Mystery Twister C3

You like riddles? You always loved to solve the crosswords in your newspaper? Or maybe you are just curious and want to find out about some of the ways to hide a secret (and possibily even to uncover it)? This is your place! Here at MysteryTwister C3 you can solve crypto challenges, starting from the simple Caesar cipher all the way to modern AES we have challenges for everyone.

The first riddle is just a sequence a number where you have to guess the last entry. Typical IQ test but it has been solved by 2138 people.

There are raffles every month so it might be a nice playground :) play here