Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2005/033

An Attack on CFB Mode Encryption As Used By OpenPGP

Serge Mister and Robert Zuccherato

Abstract: This paper describes an adaptive-chosen-ciphertext attack on the Cipher Feedback (CFB) mode of encryption as used in OpenPGP. In most circumstances it will allow an attacker to determine 16 bits of any block of plaintext with about $2^{15}$ oracle queries for the initial setup work and $2^{15}$ oracle queries for each block. Standard CFB mode encryption does not appear to be affected by this attack. It applies to a particular variation of CFB used by OpenPGP. In particular it exploits an ad-hoc integrity check feature in OpenPGP which was meant as a "quick check" to determine the correctness of the decrypting symmetric key.

Category / Keywords: cryptographic protocols / applications, cryptanalysis

Date: received 8 Feb 2005

Contact author: robert zuccherato at entrust com

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Version: 20050210:031611 (All versions of this report)

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