Paper 1997/010

CBC MAC for Real-Time Data Sources

Erez Petrank and Charles Rackoff


The Cipher Block Chaining (CBC) Message Authentication Code (MAC) is an authentication method which is widely used in practice. It is well known that the naive use of CBC MAC for variable length messages is not secure, and a few rules of thumb for the correct use of CBC MAC are known by folklore. The first rigorous proof of the security of CBC MAC, when used on fixed length messages, was given only recently by Bellare, Kilian and Rogaway. They also suggested variants of CBC MAC that handle variable length messages but in these variants the length of the message has to be known in advance (i.e., before the message is processed). We study CBC authentication of real time applications in which the length of the message is not known until the message ends, and furthermore, since the application is real-time, it is not possible to start processing the authentication only after the message ends. We first present a variant of CBC MAC, called {\em double MAC} (DMAC) which handles messages of variable unknown lengths. Computing DMAC on a message is virtually as simple and as efficient as computing the standard CBC MAC on the message. We provide a rigorous proof that its security is implied by the security of the underlying block cipher. Next, we argue that the basic CBC MAC is secure when applied to prefix free message space. A message space can be made prefix free by authenticating also the (usually hidden) last character which marks the end of the message.

Available format(s)
Publication info
Published elsewhere. Appeared in the THEORY OF CRYPTOGRAPHY LIBRARY and has been included in the ePrint Archive.
Contact author(s)
erez @ cs princeton edu
1997-08-15: received
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Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Erez Petrank and Charles Rackoff},
      title = {CBC MAC for Real-Time Data Sources},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 1997/010},
      year = {1997},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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