Re: [Cfrg] Fwd: [TLS] Curve25519 in TLS and Additional Curves in TLS

Andrey Jivsov <crypto@brainhub.org> Tue, 28 January 2014 17:20 UTC

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Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2014 09:20:29 -0800
From: Andrey Jivsov <crypto@brainhub.org>
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To: Robert Ransom <rransom.8774@gmail.com>
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Cc: cfrg@irtf.org
Subject: Re: [Cfrg] Fwd: [TLS] Curve25519 in TLS and Additional Curves in TLS
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On 01/28/2014 06:47 AM, Robert Ransom wrote:
> On 1/28/14, Andrey Jivsov <crypto@brainhub.org> wrote:
>> On 01/23/2014 06:58 PM, Robert Ransom wrote:
>>> On 1/23/14, Andrey Jivsov <crypto@brainhub.org> wrote:
>>>
>>>> Wouldn't http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-jivsov-ecc-compact be another
>>>> method?
>>>
>>>> ( BTW, the proposal in the draft is in public domain since it was
>>>> published on December 10, 2012. )
>>>
>>> Are you claiming that the point format that I suggested is patented?
>>
>> I was making a statement about my contribution, in case this issue comes
>> up.
>>
>> The IP for the use of 1 bit to compress a point is a common knowledge,
>> but I've heard that some of them are expiring.
>
> If you are referring to the patent addressed in
> <http://cr.yp.to/patents/us/6141420.html>, claim 29 of the same patent
> covers point decompression with your proposal.

I am basing the method on the the CRYPTO '85 paper, which tells:

> Finally, it should be remarked, that even though we have phrased
> everything in terms of points on an elliptic curve, that, for the key
> exchange protocol (and other uses as one-way functions), that only the
> x-coordinate needs to be transmitted. The formulas for multiples of a
> point cited in the first section make it clear that the x-coordinate of
> a multiple depends only on the x-coordinate of the original point.


>> However, I am concerned about the cofactor issue. These curves have the
>> cofactor greater than 1. Unlike "unsafe" NIST curves, this needs to be
>> handled. The draft suggest methods that, as I understand them, may run
>> into IP issues. Besides, there may be protocols that want to do classic
>> DH. One solution to these issues is to enumerate the points in the small
>> subgroup, explicitly in the document, or by providing the method to
>> identify them.
>
> U.S. patent 6,226,383 (Jablon) claims 31 and 32 cover the use of your
> suggestion in ECDH.

I try not to read patents, one never knows what can be found there...

Because any modp group will have a cofactor of at least 2, all modp 
operations are effected by these claims. These claims would cover, for 
example, http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc6989 sec 2.2 that excludes 0 and p-1.

I was assuming that such a general method of comparing one element to 
another, or a concept of a subgroup, were known before 1990s.

>
>
> Dr. Bernstein's paper which specifies Curve25519 for use in ECDH
> addresses its groups' cofactors by (a) generating Diffie-Hellman
> keypairs such that the secret exponent is divisible by the cofactor
> (as is common in multiplicative-group Diffie-Hellman, where the
> cofactor is at least 2), and (b) requiring that the shared-secret
> group element be used only as input to a hash function or hash-based
> KDF (as is required for all Diffie-Hellman systems).
>
> Are you aware of any specific patent claims which cover these
> techniques, or are you merely trying to spread patent FUD?

The quick search reveals this one: US6563928. Yes, I did notice that the 
paper specifies that the key generation must clear the lower bits, which 
is equivalent to multiplying by a (power of 2) cofactor. Such a method 
hardwires the cofactor multiplication into the field operation. This was 
not necessarily needed, but I understand that this was important to be 
"safe". I personally would prefer the cofactor not to be a part of the 
raw ECC operations.