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{weber,oscar}@inf.ufrgs.br

Institute of Informatics, UFRGS RS-Brazil

April 30, 2004

INDEX

• Introduccion

• Secret Key Cryptosystem

• Description

• Source codes of RC4

• RC4 uses OFB

• Pro

• Cons

• Applications

• References

In t r o d u c t io n

RC4 is a stream cipher symmetric key

algorithm. It was developed in 1987 by

Ronald Rivest for RSA Data Security, Inc

[1][2].

official term is "Rivest Cipher 4".

and RC5, and the block cipher RC6 with

others.

encryption and decryption [1].

uses the same key to encrypt and decrypt,

data one byte at a time [1]

RC4 is essentially a pseudo random number generator

(PRNG) with the output of the generator being XORed with

the data stream to produce the encrypted data.

RSA Data Security, until someone posted source code for

an algorithm onto Usenet News, claiming it to be

equivalent to RC4.

is indeed equivalent to RC4 [3].

– 1994, leaked to cypherpunks mailing list. An

alleged copy of the RC4 source code was published

anonymously.

– 1995, first cryptanalysis (USENET post)

Schneier as “alleged RC4” [5].

Secret Key Cryptosystem

[6]

Description

[7]

- RC4 is essentially a pseudo-random number generator initialized

from a secret key of up to 256 bytes.

with the plaintext to produce the ciphertext stream.

variables, i, j, and k [4].

uses the key to initialize the pseudo-random number generator:

S[i] = i

for i = 0 ... 255

j = (j + S[i] + key[i mod key_length]) mod 256

swap (S[i],S[j])

Once the generator has been initialized, both encryption and

decryption is performed using values output from the generation

stage.

i = 0

j = 0

loop until the entire message is encrypted/decrypted

i = (i + 1) mod 256

j = (j + S[i]) mod 256

swap(S[i],S[j])

k = S[(S[i] + S[j]) mod 256]

output the XOR of k with the next byte of input

Source codes of RC4

as a perl4 script [8]:

#!/usr/bin/perl -p

INIT{sub Q{$s[($_[0]+=$_[1])%=256]}sub

S{@s[$y,$x++]=@s[$x,$y]}@k=pop=~/../g;S$y=map{S

Q$y,$_+hex$k[$x%@k]}@s=0..255}s/\C/$&^chr Q S Q$y,Q$x/eg

on the original usenet post: RC4 Algorithm revealed, in

sci.crypt (sep. 1994). Thiw implementation of the

ARC4 algorithm by Christophe Devine has GNU General Public

License [9].

RC4 uses OFB

mode works as a key stream generator producing a pseudo-random

key sequence a block at a time. By XOR-ing the key stream with

the plaintext the block cipher actually works as a stream cipher

[6]

Pro

table [1].

is used to select each value in the sequence [1].

- It is ideal for software implementations, as it

requires only byte-length manipulations

used stream cipher in the world.

Cons

-The RC4 algorithm is vulnerable to analytic attacks of the

state table.

-One in every 256 keys can be a weak key. These keys are

identified by cryptoanalysis that is able to find

circumstances under which one of more generated bytes are

strongly correlated with a few bytes of the key.

same key is used twice. This problem is usually solved by

hashing the key with a unique initialization vector (IV)

each time it is used, and sending the IV along with the

message [4].

PRNG generator be discarded and not used to encrypt messages

(256 discards are recommended for maximum security.) Failure

to do so can expose messages to an attack in which the RC4

key can be exposed (see "Fluhrer, Mantin and Shamir Attack")

[4]

It is vulnerable to a brute force attack using current

technology.

40-bit keys for export. Keys this small can be easily

broken by governments, criminals, and amateurs.

Layer, which uses RC4-40, was broken by at least two

independent groups. Breaking it took about eight days;

in many universities or companies the same computing

power is available to any computer science student [3].

Applications

- Browsers: Internet Explorer, Nescape, Mozilla, Opera etc.,

- Commercial ssh

- K Desktop Environment 3.1.0

- WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) in IEEE 802.11 standard,

- TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol) also known as WEP2,

- TLS (Transport Layer Security),

- WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access),

- Microsoft XBOX,

- Microsoft PPTP,

- Microsoft Office,

- Adobe Acrobat,

- Oracle SQL,

– Lotus Notes,

– Cellular Digital Packet Data,

– OpenBSD pseudo-random number generator, etc.

Browsers use RC4

KDE 3.1.0 uses RC4

Commercial SSH uses arcfour (RC4)

[12]

WEP uses RC4

[6]

TKIP uses RC4

[11]

References

[1] ht tp ://w w w .n cat.edu /~g rog an s/algorit hm _ history _ and _ descrip tio.htm

[2] ht tp ://w w w .w isdom .w eizm an n .ac.il/~itsik/RC 4/rc4.htm l

[3] ht tp ://w om b at.d oc.ic.ac.uk/fold oc/fold oc.cg i?RC 4

[4] ht tp ://en .w ikip edia.org /w iki/RC 4_ cip her

[5] “ Old an d N ew A ttacks on RC 4” b y Ily a M iron ov . A p p lied C y p to, Stan d ford

(ily a M iron ov .p p t)

[6] “ Sy m m etric K ey C ry p tog rap hy ” b y Prof . D r.A n d reas Steffen . 2000-2003

Zu rcher H ochschu le Wint erthu r. Sichere N etzw erkkom m u n ikation (SN K ).

10/10/2003. (SN K _ Sy m .p p t)

[7] “ Wireless Secu rity : Prob lem s an d Solut ion s” b y William A A rb au g h. In SA N S

2002 T echn ical C on feren ce Session 1-3. 2002. (1-3_A rb au g h.p d f)

[8] http ://w w w .cy phersp ace.org /ad am /rsa/rc4.htm l

[9] http ://w w w .cr0.n et :8040/cod e/cry p to/rc4/

[10] http ://w w w .sev illaon lin e.com /A ctiv eX /v b 5/RC 4L ib .htm

[11] “ N ext G en eration Wireless L A N Secu rity T echn olog y ” b y Su n n y C han .

C han n el D ev elop m en t Su p p ort M an ag er. http :// w w w .cisco.com

[12] htt p ://w w w .ssh.com

Thank you very much.

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