Preprint / Version 2

Ġasaq: Provably Secure Key Derivation




secret-key cryptography, key derivation, cryptanalysis, one-way functions


Update: Ġasaq is not secure at all. I did many silly mistakes. This paper rightfully got an immediate rejection from the Journal of Cryptology.

This paper proposes Ġasaq; a provably secure key derivation method that, when given access to a true random number generator (TRNG), allows communicating parties, that have a pre-shared secret password p, to agree on a secret key k that is indistinguishable from truly random numbers with a guaranteed entropy of min(H(p), |k|).

Ġasaq's security guarantees hold even in a post-quantum world under Grover's algorithm, or even if it turns out that P = NP. Such strong security guarantees, that are similar to those of the one time pad (OTP), became attractive after the introduction of Băhēm; a similarly provably secure symmetric cipher that is strong enough to shift cipher's security bottleneck to the key derivation function.

State of art key derivation functions such as the PBKDF, or even memory-hard variants such as Argon2, are not provably secure, but rather not fully broken yet. They do not guarantee against needlessly losing password entropies; that is, the output key could have an entropy lower than password's entropy, even if such entropy is less than key's bit length. In addition to assuming that P != NP, and, even then, getting their key space square-rooted under Grover's algorithm---none of which are limitations of Ġasaq.

Using such key derivation functions, as the PBKDF or Argon2, is acceptable with conventional ciphers, such as ChaCha20 or AES, as they, too, suffer the same limitations, hence none of them are bottlenecks for the other. Similarly to how a glass door is not a security bottleneck for a glass house.

However, a question is: why would a people secure their belongings in a glass made structure, to justify a glass door, when they can use a re-enforced steel structure at a similar cost? This is where Ġasaq comes to offer Băhēm the re-enforced steel door that matches its security.


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Author Biography

M. Rajululkahf, Unaffiliated



2022-04-18 — Updated on 2022-04-21