Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2014/655

Pleco and Plectron -- Two Provably Secure Password Hashing Algorithms

Bo Zhu and Xinxin Fan and Guang Gong

Abstract: Password-based authentication has been widely deployed in practice due to its simplicity and efficiency. Storing passwords and deriving cryptographic keys from passwords in a secure manner are crucial for many security systems and services. However, choices of well-studied password hashing algorithms are extremely limited, as their security requirements and design principles are different from common cryptographic algorithms. In this paper, we propose two practical password hashing algorithms, Pleco and Plectron. They are built upon well-understood cryptographic algorithms, and combine advantages of symmetric and asymmetric primitives. By employing the Rabin cryptosystem, we prove that the one-wayness of Pleco is at least as strong as the hard problem of integer factorization. In addition, both password hashing algorithms are designed to be sequential memory-hard, in order to thwart large-scale password cracking by parallel hardware, such as GPUs, FPGAs, and ASICs. Moreover, total computation and memory consumptions of Pleco and Plectron are tunable through their cost parameters.

Category / Keywords: secret-key cryptography / password, hashing, login, authentication

Date: received 22 Aug 2014, last revised 12 Sep 2014

Contact author: bo zhu at uwaterloo ca

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Version: 20140912:160746 (All versions of this report)

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