Re: Adding standalone RSA code
From: Richard Coleman (rcoleman_at_criticalmagic.com)
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 2004 11:02:57 -0500 To: Colin Percival <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Colin Percival wrote:
> I'd like to add a new library for lightweight barebones RSA
> computations, and associated commandline rsa-makekey, rsa-sign, and
> rsa-verify utilities.
> To a certain extent, this duplicates existing functionality
> (openssl), but I think my code has important advantages which justify
> the duplication: 1. It is lightweight (around 2% of the size of
> openssl), which may allow it to be used in memory-limited
> environments, 2. It is far more auditable, due to its smaller size,
> and 3. It is designed for security rather than performance; I made
> certain design decisions which result in my code being rather slower
> than openssl as a result of a desire to avoid potential attack
> My reason for wanting to add this code is that I'm using it in
> FreeBSD Update (and recently portsnap as well) and this is the first
> step towards migrating that into the base system.
> Any objections?
> Colin Percival
If the objective is to create a standard library for memory limited
cryptography, then using elliptic curve cryptography would be more
appropriate than RSA. But that may be too radical for most users.
My primary concern about a new library is that as more applications use
cryptography, the more openssl becomes a "sunk" cost. It's already
there. So using an alternate library (even a small one) is an increase
in memory utilization. Also, as Mark says, openssl is much more likely
to grow hardware support for common crypto algorithms (like in the VIA
Just my random thoughts. Don't take this as a strenuous objection.
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