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6.1. Encryption Specifications

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6.1. Encryption Specifications

6.1. Encryption Specifications

The following ASN.1 definition describes all encrypted messages. The enc-part field which appears in the unencrypted part of messages in section 5 is a sequence consisting of an encryption type, an optional key version number, and the ciphertext.

   EncryptedData ::=   SEQUENCE {
                       etype[0]     INTEGER, -- EncryptionType
                       kvno[1]      INTEGER OPTIONAL,
                       cipher[2]    OCTET STRING -- ciphertext


This field identifies which encryption algorithm was used to encipher the cipher. Detailed specifications for selected encryption types appear later in this section.


This field contains the version number of the key under which data is encrypted. It is only present in messages encrypted under long lasting keys, such as principals' secret keys.


This field contains the enciphered text, encoded as an OCTET STRING.

The cipher field is generated by applying the specified encryption algorithm to data composed of the message and algorithm-specific inputs. Encryption mechanisms defined for use with Kerberos must take sufficient measures to guarantee the integrity of the plaintext, and we recommend they also take measures to protect against precomputed dictionary attacks. If the encryption algorithm is not itself capable of doing so, the protections can often be enhanced by adding a checksum and a confounder.

The suggested format for the data to be encrypted includes a confounder, a checksum, the encoded plaintext, and any necessary padding. The msg-seq field contains the part of the protocol message described in section 5 which is to be encrypted. The confounder, checksum, and padding are all untagged and untyped, and their length is exactly sufficient to hold the appropriate item. The type and length is implicit and specified by the particular encryption type being used (etype). The format for the data to be encrypted is described in the following diagram:

         |confounder |   check  |   msg-seq   | pad |

The format cannot be described in ASN.1, but for those who prefer an ASN.1-like notation:

CipherText ::=   ENCRYPTED       SEQUENCE {
         confounder[0]   UNTAGGED OCTET STRING(conf_length)     OPTIONAL,
         check[1]        UNTAGGED OCTET STRING(checksum_length) OPTIONAL,
         msg-seq[2]      MsgSequence,
         pad             UNTAGGED OCTET STRING(pad_length) OPTIONAL

In the above specification, UNTAGGED OCTET STRING(length) is the notation for an octet string with its tag and length removed. It is not a valid ASN.1 type. The tag bits and length must be removed from the confounder since the purpose of the confounder is so that the message starts with random data, but the tag and its length are fixed. For other fields, the length and tag would be redundant if they were included because they are specified by the encryption type.

One generates a random confounder of the appropriate length, placing it in confounder; zeroes out check; calculates the appropriate checksum over confounder, check, and msg-seq, placing the result in check; adds the necessary padding; then encrypts using the specified encryption type and the appropriate key.

Unless otherwise specified, a definition of an encryption algorithm that specifies a checksum, a length for the confounder field, or an octet boundary for padding uses this ciphertext format (The ordering of the fields in the CipherText is important. Additionally, messages encoded in this format must include a length as part of the msg-seq field. This allows the recipient to verify that the message has not been truncated. Without a length, an attacker could use a chosen plaintext attack to generate a message which could be truncated, while leaving the checksum intact. Note that if the msg-seq is an encoding of an ASN.1 SEQUENCE or OCTET STRING, then the length is part of that encoding.). Those fields which are not specified will be omitted.

In the interest of allowing all implementations using a particular encryption type to communicate with all others using that type, the specification of an encryption type defines any checksum that is needed as part of the encryption process. If an alternative checksum is to be used, a new encryption type must be defined.

Some cryptosystems require additional information beyond the key and the data to be encrypted. For example, DES, when used in cipher- block-chaining mode, requires an initialization vector. If required, the description for each encryption type must specify the source of such additional information.

Next: 6.2. Encryption Keys

Connected: An Internet Encyclopedia
6.1. Encryption Specifications