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= Usage of streamciphers =
Author: Daniel Otte
0. Foreword
This file will describe how to use the streamcipher implementations provided
by this library. It will not only show how to call the cryptographic functions
but also discuss a little how to build security mechanisms from that.
1. What a streamcipher does
A streamcipher normally generates a deterministic, random looking stream of
bits, known as keystream. For encryption purpose this keystream is XORed with
the data stream. So decryption is exactly the same as encryption. The
data-stream is XORed with the keystream giving the plaintext. So both sides
need exactly the same streamcipher in the same state.
1.1. high frequent parameters:
output-size: 8 bit, 1 bit
keysize: 64 bit, 80 bit, 128 bit
IVsize: 64 bit
2. Parts of a streamcipher
* generation algorithm
* initialization algorithm
* state
As we can see all streamciphers seem to utilize an internal state which
determines the output. This state is initialized by the initialization
algorithm with a key and an IV (initialization vector). It is very important
for security that _never_ the same key with the same IV is used again. The
IV is not required to be kept secret.
3. streamcipher API
The API is not always consistent due to the fact that we tried to optimize the
code for size (flash, heap and stack) and speed (runtime of the different
Generally the API of the implemented streamciphers consists of:
*_init function, which implements the initialization
*_gen function, which implements the streamcipher algorithm and generates a
keystream output
*_ctx_t context type, which contains internal state information
3.1 look at the prototypes
Generally the prototypes (defined in the *.h files) will tell you what
parameter means what.
3.1.2 sizes in bits and bytes
Working with cryptographical functions involves working with different lengths.
Some times you want to know it in bits and sometimes in bytes. To reduce
frustration and to avoid bugs we suffix a length parameter with either _b or
_B depending on the meaning. _b means in bits and _B means in bytes
(big b big word).
3.2. *_init function
The *_init function generally takes a pointer to the key as first parameter.
For ciphers where the keysize is not fixed the second parameter gives the
keysize (in bits regularly) followed by a pointer to the IV and a length
parameter for not fixed IV sizes (both are omitted if the algorithm does not
specify IV handling, in this case a part of the key should be used as IV).
The last parameter points to the context variable to fill.
3.3. *_gen function
The *_gen function updates the internal state to which a pointer is given as
parameter and returns a fixed length part of the keystream as return value.