[OWASP-ESAPI] Any reason OWASP ESAPI doesn't have a HexEncoder Codec?

Neil Matatall nmatatal at uci.edu
Thu Aug 20 13:48:32 EDT 2009

I'm sold.  Sounds like a great addition.

Kevin W. Wall wrote:
> Hi Neil.
> You wrote:
>> Jim,
>> In the past I've found base64 is the preferred way to encode IVs, kets,
>> etc so it plays nicely with OpenSSL for example.  I do not know if
>> OpenSSL or other implementations choke on non-base64 but I know it was a
>> hard requirement when I fudged together our encryption library.
> Saw this post to the list and the comment about OpenSSL and base64 encoding.
> My goal is to make it as simple as possible to grab a good (fixed) IV. Since
> some cipher algorithms have known "weak" IVs (e.g., DES, and therefore DESede,
> aka, 3DES), I wanted people to just be able to grab one from a test vector
> somewhere.
> Below is my write up to Jim on this matter.
> BTW, I don't mean that I wish to hex-encode the _ciphertex_ (or actually,
> the IV+ciphertext). That would still be base64-encoded. I'm only referring to
> setting the new Encryptor.fixedIV property that would be used if the property
> Encryptor.ChooseIVMethod is set to 'fixed'. E.g.,
> 	# Set in ESAPI.properties to use a specific fixed IV
> 	Encryptor.ChooseIVMethod=fixed
> 	Encryptor.fixedIV=dbd1a3636024b7b402da7d6fe3fb056e
> It's a lot easier to tell if this is the correct length. Just count the
> bytes and multiply by 2 and that gives you the bit length for the IV, which
> should be the same as the cipher block length in bits.
> Hope that makes sense. See below for more details.
> BTW, also if you ever want to send an IV as part of an HTTP GET
> query parameter, if you hex-encode it you don't have to worry about
> URL encoding it. If you base64-encode it you do have to URL encode it
> has some of the b64 char set (/, +, and = IIRC) need to be URL encoded.
> -kevin
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: Re: Any reason OWASP ESAPI doesn't have a HexEncoder Codec?
> Date: Wed, 19 Aug 2009 08:21:31 -0400
> From: Kevin W. Wall <kevin.w.wall at gmail.com>
> Organization: Qwest IT - Application Security Team
> To: Jim Manico <jim.manico at owasp.org>
> References: <4A8B7BC3.6040104 at gmail.com>
> <0AD950AE-F864-4E53-AE44-F95774C8993E at owasp.org>
> Jim Manico wrote:
>> I think we currently base64 encoding our IV's, is there any downside to
>> this, or are we just doing it in a non standard way?
> For IVs, it's more standard to hex-encode them...probably for one very
> simple reason. It's fairly trivial to look at a hex string and know
> immediately if its the correct # of bytes for an IV; all you need to
> do is to count the length. The conversion from base64-encoding is not
> quite a trivial. Plus if you just want to pick up and use some fixed IV
> from some test vector (e.g., see RFC 3602, section 4 -- especially
> useful for testing :-), than hex-encoding is how you will find them
> presented. E.g., here is the first 2 test vectors from the cited RFC:
>     Case #1: Encrypting 16 bytes (1 block) using AES-CBC with 128-bit key
>     Key       : 0x06a9214036b8a15b512e03d534120006
>     IV        : 0x3dafba429d9eb430b422da802c9fac41
>     Plaintext : "Single block msg"
>     Ciphertext: 0xe353779c1079aeb82708942dbe77181a
>     Case #2: Encrypting 32 bytes (2 blocks) using AES-CBC with 128-bit key
>     Key       : 0xc286696d887c9aa0611bbb3e2025a45a
>     IV        : 0x562e17996d093d28ddb3ba695a2e6f58
>     Plaintext : 0x000102030405060708090a0b0c0d0e0f
>                   101112131415161718191a1b1c1d1e1f
>     Ciphertext: 0xd296cd94c2cccf8a3a863028b5e1dc0a
>                   7586602d253cfff91b8266bea6d61ab1
>> Kevin, can you also please re-post your other encryption question from
>> last month, if you have it handy? It was very important but no one
>> responded. I'd like to reopen that conversation on the list.
> Well, if I knew which post you were referring to I would. If you search
> for 'Kevin W. Wall' you can find my posts for July and August at these URLs,
> sorted by author:
> https://lists.owasp.org/pipermail/owasp-esapi/2009-July/author.html
> https://lists.owasp.org/pipermail/owasp-esapi/2009-August/author.html
> Or are you referring to an email sent off-list? If so, can you perhaps
> narrow it down a bit. I've sent our about 65+ emails from this account
> since July 1. Perhaps you are referring to the one with the subject of
> AES 256-bit vs. AES 128-bit in ESAPI' sent to Jeff (and not to the
> OWASP-ESAPI list) on 7/26/2009 09:11 PM EDT
>> Thank you for digging so deeply into this Kevin.
> NP. This is a lot more enjoyable than writing for _Computing Reviews_.
> -kevin

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