Product cipher negotiation with on-line evaluation for private communication over computer networks
A method is proposed to offer privacy in computer communications, using symmetric product block ciphers. The security protocol involved a cipher negotiation stage, in which two communicating parties select privately a cipher from a public cipher space. The cipher negotiation process includes an on-line cipher evaluation stage, in which the cryptographic strength of the proposed cipher is estimated. The cryptographic strength of the ciphers is measured by confusion and diffusion. A method is proposed to describe quantitatively these two properties. For the calculation of confusion and diffusion a number of parameters are defined, such as the confusion and diffusion matrices and the marginal diffusion. These parameters involve computationally intensive calculations that are performed off-line, before any communication takes place. Once they are calculated, they are used to obtain estimation equations, which are used for on-line, fast evaluation of the confusion and diffusion of the negotiated cipher. A technique proposed in this thesis describes how to calculate the parameters and how to use the results for fast estimation of confusion and diffusion for any cipher instance within the defined cipher space.