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From: Pascal Van Leeuwen <>
To: Ard Biesheuvel <>
Cc: "" <>,
	"" <>,
	"" <>,
	"" <>,
	"" <>,
	"" <>,
	"" <>
Subject: RE: [RFC PATCH v2] md/dm-crypt - reuse eboiv skcipher for IV generation
Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2019 13:52:43 +0000
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ard Biesheuvel <>
> Sent: Wednesday, August 7, 2019 3:17 PM
> To: Pascal Van Leeuwen <>
> Cc:;;;
> Subject: Re: [RFC PATCH v2] md/dm-crypt - reuse eboiv skcipher for IV generation
> On Wed, 7 Aug 2019 at 10:28, Pascal Van Leeuwen
> <> wrote:
> >
> > Ard,
> >
> > I've actually been following this discussion with some interest, as it has
> > some relevance for some of the things I am doing at the moment as well.
> >
> > For example, for my CTS implementation I need to crypt one or two
> > seperate blocks and for the inside-secure driver I sometimes need to do
> > some single crypto block precomputes. (the XTS driver additionally
> > also already did such a single block encrypt for the tweak, also using
> > a seperate (non-sk)cipher instance - very similar to your IV case)
> >
> > Long story short, the current approach is to allocate a seperate
> > cipher instance so you can conveniently do crypto_cipher_en/decrypt_one.
> > (it would be nice to have a matching crypto_skcipher_en/decrypt_one
> > function available from the crypto API for these purposes?)
> > But if I understand you correctly, you may end up with an insecure
> > table-based implementation if you do that. Not what I want :-(
> >
> Table based AES is known to be vulnerable to plaintext attacks on the
> key, since each byte of the input xor'ed with the key is used as an
> index for doing Sbox lookups, and so with enough samples, there is an
> exploitable statistical correlation between the response time and the
> key.
> So in the context of EBOIV, where the user might specify a SIMD based
> time invariant skcipher, it would be really bad if the known plaintext
> encryptions of the byte offsets that occur with the *same* key would
> happen with a different cipher that is allocated implicitly and ends
> up being fulfilled by, e.g., aes-generic, since in that case, each
> block en/decryption is preceded by a single, time-variant AES
> invocation with an easily guessable input.
No need to tell me, doing crypto has been my dayjob for nearly 18.5 years
now :-)

> In your case, we are not dealing with known plaintext attacks,
Since this is XTS, which is used for disk encryption, I would argue
we do! For the tweak encryption, the sector number is known plaintext,
same as for EBOIV. Also, you may be able to control data being written 
to the disk encrypted, either directly or indirectly.
OK, part of the data into the CTS encryption will be previous ciphertext,
but that may be just 1 byte with the rest being the known plaintext.

> and the
> higher latency of h/w accelerated crypto makes me less worried that
> the final, user observable latency would strongly correlate the way
> aes-generic in isolation does.
If that latency is constant - which it usually is - then it doesn't 
really matter for correlation, it just filters out.

> > However, in many cases there would actually be a very good reason
> > NOT to want to use the main skcipher for this. As that is some
> > hardware accelerator with terrible latency that you wouldn't want
> > to use to process just one cipher block. For that, you want to have
> > some SW implementation that is efficient on a single block instead.
> >
> Indeed. Note that for EBOIV, such performance concerns are deemed
> irrelevant, but it is an issue in the general case.
Yes, my interest was purely in the generic case.

> > In my humble opinion, such insecure table based implementations just
> > shouldn't exist at all - you can always do better, possibly at the
> > expense of some performance degradation. Or you should at least have
> > some flag  available to specify you have some security requirements
> > and such an implementation is not an acceptable response.
> >
> We did some work to reduce the time variance of AES: there is the
> aes-ti driver, and there is now also the AES library, which is known
> to be slower than aes-generic, but does include some mitigations for
> cache timing attacks.
> Other than that, I have little to offer, given that the performance vs
> security tradeoffs were decided long before security became a thing
> like it is today, and so removing aes-generic is not an option,
> especially since the scalar alternatives we have are not truly time
> invariant either.
Replacing aes-generic with a truly time-invariant implementation could
be an option. Or selecting aes-generic only if some (new) "allow_insecure"
flag is set on the cipher request. (Obviously, you want to default to
secure, not insecure. Speaking as someone who earns his living doing
security :-)

(Disclaimer: I do not know anything about the aes-generic implementation, 
I'm just taking your word for it that it is not secure (enough) ...)

Pascal van Leeuwen
Silicon IP Architect, Multi-Protocol Engines @ Verimatrix

  reply index

Thread overview: 23+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2019-08-07  5:50 Ard Biesheuvel
2019-08-07  7:28 ` Pascal Van Leeuwen
2019-08-07 13:17   ` Ard Biesheuvel
2019-08-07 13:52     ` Pascal Van Leeuwen [this message]
2019-08-07 15:39       ` Ard Biesheuvel
2019-08-07 16:14         ` Pascal Van Leeuwen
2019-08-07 16:50           ` Ard Biesheuvel
2019-08-07 20:22             ` Pascal Van Leeuwen
2019-08-08  8:30           ` Eric Biggers
2019-08-08  9:31             ` Pascal Van Leeuwen
2019-08-08 12:52               ` Milan Broz
2019-08-08 13:23                 ` Pascal Van Leeuwen
2019-08-08 17:15                   ` Eric Biggers
2019-08-09  9:17                     ` Pascal Van Leeuwen
2019-08-09 17:17                       ` Eric Biggers
2019-08-09 20:29                         ` Pascal Van Leeuwen
2019-08-09 20:56                           ` Eric Biggers
2019-08-09 21:33                             ` Pascal Van Leeuwen
2019-08-09 22:04                               ` Eric Biggers
2019-08-09 23:01                                 ` Pascal Van Leeuwen
2019-08-07  8:08 ` Milan Broz
2019-08-08 11:53 ` Milan Broz
2019-08-09 18:52   ` Ard Biesheuvel

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