Symmetric key algorithms

Symmetric key algorithms

I will try to keep this article regularly updated and try to cover all major Symmetric-key algorithms,

Symmetric-key algorithms are algorithms for cryptography that use the same cryptographic keys for both encryption of plaintext and decryption of ciphertext. The keys may be identical or there may be a simple transformation to go between the two keys. The keys, in practice, represent a shared secret between two or more parties that can be used to maintain a private information link. This requirement that both parties have access to the secret key is one of the main drawbacks of symmetric key encryption, in comparison to public-key encryption (also known as asymmetric key encryption).

Symmetric-key encryption can use either stream ciphers or block ciphers.

A stream cipher is a symmetric key cipher where plain text digits are combined with a pseudo-random cipher digit stream (key-stream). In a stream cipher, each plain text digit is encrypted one at a time with the corresponding digit of the key-stream, to give a digit of the cipher text stream. Since encryption of each digit is dependent on the current state of the cipher, it is also known as state cipher. In practice, a digit is typically a bit and the combining operation an exclusive-or (XOR).

A block cipher is a method of encrypting text (to produce cipher text) in which a cryptographic key and algorithm are applied to a block of data (for example, 64 contiguous bits) at once as a group rather than to one bit at a time. The main alternative method, used much less frequently, is called the stream cipher.

Some of the popular symmetric algorithms are as below, 

DES – Data Encryption Standard – designed at IBM, The actual algorithm used is also called DES or sometimes DEA (Digital Encryption Algorithm). It is now considered as insecure due to a small key size of 56-bits. DES-X is another variant of DES but same concept and it's a block cipher.

In cryptography, Triple DES (3DES), officially the Triple Data Encryption Algorithm (TDEA or Triple DEA), is a symmetric-key block cipher, which applies the Data Encryption Standard (DES) cipher algorithm three times to each data block.

International Data Encryption Algorithm (IDEA), originally called Improved Proposed Encryption Standard (IPES), is a symmetric-key block cipher designed by James Massey of ETH Zurich and Xuejia Lai and was first described in 1991. The algorithm was intended as a replacement for the Data Encryption Standard (DES). IDEA is a minor revision of an earlier cipher, Proposed Encryption Standard (PES).

Serpent is a symmetric key block cipher that was a finalist in the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) contest, where it was ranked second to Rijndael. Serpent was designed by Ross Anderson, Eli Biham, and Lars Knudsen. Like other AES submissions, Serpent has a block size of 128 bits and supports a key size of 128, 192 or 256 bits. The cipher is a 32-round substitution-permutation network operating on a block of four 32-bit words. Each round applies one of eight 4-bit to 4-bit S-boxes 32 times in parallel. Serpent was designed so that all operations can be executed in parallel, using 32 bit slices. This maximizes parallelism, but also allows use of the extensive cryptanalysis work performed on DES.

Speck is a family of lightweight block ciphers publicly released by the National Security Agency (NSA) in June 2013.Speck has been optimized for performance in software implementations, while its sister algorithm, Simon, has been optimized for hardware implementations. Speck is an add-rotate-xor (ARX) cipher.Speck supports a variety of block and key sizes. A block is always two words, but the words may be 16, 24, 32, 48 or 64 bits in size. The corresponding key is 2, 3 or 4 words. The round function consists of two rotations, adding the right word to the left word, xoring the key into the left word, then and xoring the left word to the right word. The number of rounds depends on the parameters selected.

Twofish is a symmetric key block cipher with a block size of 128 bits and key sizes up to 256 bits. It was one of the five finalists of the Advanced Encryption Standard contest, but it was not selected for standardization. Twofish is related to the earlier block cipher Blowfish. Designed by Bruce Schneier and others as a successor to Blowfish, Uses keys of size 128, 192, or 256 bits. Designed to be more flexible than Blowfish. Supported by TrueCrypt, SSH. Twofish is a block cipher.

Blowfish is a symmetric-key block cipher, designed in 1993 by Bruce Schneier and included in a large number of cipher suites and encryption products. Blowfish provides a good encryption rate in software and no effective cryptanalysis of it has been found to date. However, the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) now receives more attention. Patent free and it is in public domain, Supported by SSH, Much faster than DES and IDEA but not as fast as RC4, Uses variable size keys of 32 to 448 bits, Considered secure, Blowfish is a block cipher.

Threefish is a symmetric-key tweakable block cipher designed as part of the Skein hash function, an entry in the NIST hash function competition. Threefish uses no S-boxes or other table lookups in order to avoid cache timing attacks;its nonlinearity comes from alternating additions with exclusive ORs. In that respect, it is similar to Salsa20, TEA, and the SHA-3 candidates CubeHash and BLAKE. Threefish and the Skein hash function were designed by Bruce Schneier, Niels Ferguson, Stefan Lucks, Doug Whiting, Mihir Bellare, Tadayoshi Kohno, Jon Callas, and Jesse Walker.

CAST-128 (alternatively CAST5) is a symmetric-key block cipher used in a number of products, notably as the default cipher in some versions of GPG and PGP. It has also been approved for Government of Canada use by the Communications Security Establishment. The algorithm was created in 1996 by Carlisle Adams and Stafford Tavares using the CAST design procedure.

Kuznyechik is a symmetric block cipher. It has a block size of 128 bits and key length of 256 bits. It is defined in the National Standard of the Russian Federation GOST R 34.12-2015 and also in RFC 7801.The name of the cipher can be translated from Russian as grasshopper, however, the standard explicitly says that the English name for the cipher is Kuznyechik. The designers claim that by naming the cipher Kuznyechik they follow the trend of difficult to pronounce algorithm names set up by Rijndael and Keccak.

Skipjack is a block cipher—an algorithm for encryption—developed by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). Initially classified, it was originally intended for use in the controversial Clipper chip. Subsequently, the algorithm was declassified and now provides a unique insight into the cipher designs of a government intelligence agency.

MARS is a block cipher that was IBM's submission to the Advanced Encryption Standard process. MARS was selected as an AES finalist in August 1999, after the AES2 conference in March 1999, where it was voted as the fifth and last finalist algorithm. The MARS design team included Don Coppersmith, who had been involved in the creation of the previous Data Encryption Standard (DES) twenty years earlier. The project was specifically designed to resist future advances in cryptography by adopting a layered, compartmentalized approach.

RC2 (also known as ARC2) is a symmetric-key block cipher designed by Ron Rivest in 1987. "RC" stands for "Ron's Code" or "Rivest Cipher"; other ciphers designed by Rivest include RC4, RC5, and RC6.The development of RC2 was sponsored by Lotus, who were seeking a custom cipher that, after evaluation by the NSA, could be exported as part of their Lotus Notes software. The NSA suggested a couple of changes, which Rivest incorporated. After further negotiations, the cipher was approved for export in 1989. Along with RC4, RC2 with a 40-bit key size was treated favourably under US export regulations for cryptography.

RC4 (Rivest Cipher 4 also known as ARC4 or ARCFOUR meaning Alleged RC4, see below) is a stream cipher. While remarkable for its simplicity and speed in software, multiple vulnerabilities have been discovered in RC4, rendering it insecure.It is especially vulnerable when the beginning of the output keystream is not discarded, or when nonrandom or related keys are used. Particularly problematic uses of RC4 have led to very insecure protocols such as WEP.

RC5 is a symmetric-key block cipher notable for its simplicity. Designed by Ronald Rivest in 1994,[2] RC stands for "Rivest Cipher", or alternatively, "Ron's Code" (compare RC2 and RC4). The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) candidate RC6 was based on RC5.RC5 has a variable block size (32, 64 or 128 bits), key size (0 to 2040 bits) and number of rounds (0 to 255). The original suggested choice of parameters were a block size of 64 bits, a 128-bit key and 12 rounds. A key feature of RC5 is the use of data-dependent rotations; one of the goals of RC5 was to prompt the study and evaluation of such operations as a cryptographic primitive[citation needed]. RC5 also consists of a number of modular additions and eXclusive OR (XOR)s

RC6 (Rivest cipher 6) is a symmetric key block cipher derived from RC5. It was designed by Ron Rivest, Matt Robshaw, Ray Sidney, and Yiqun Lisa Yin to meet the requirements of the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) competition. The algorithm was one of the five finalists, and also was submitted to the NESSIE and CRYPTREC projects. It is a proprietary algorithm, patented by RSA Security. RC6 proper has a block size of 128 bits and supports key sizes of 128, 192, and 256 bits, but, like RC5, it may be parameterised to support a wide variety of word-lengths, key sizes, and number of rounds. RC6 is very similar to RC5 in structure, using data-dependent rotations, modular addition, and XOR operations; in fact, RC6 could be viewed as interweaving two parallel RC5 encryption processes, although RC6 does use an extra multiplication operation not present in RC5 in order to make the rotation dependent on every bit in a word, and not just the least significant few bits.

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