[cryptography] is there an interation-incremental version of PBKDF2?

Ian G iang at iang.org
Thu Sep 9 20:54:51 EDT 2010

On 10/09/10 4:06 AM, travis+ml-rbcryptography at subspacefield.org wrote:

> I understand your point, but I think it's fair to ask "can we do
> better?"
> Your implication is, "don't try, don't even discuss trying".
> I think that's a cop out, intellectually lazy, and boring; but sure,
> it avoids the risks associated with any change.

I tend to be one of those who agree with that.


However it is complicated.  Security work is very tricky, and a lot of 
stuff that is done is plain wrong, but is supported to-the-death by its 
advocates.  So you need to be in for the long run to learn this stuff, 
which often means seeing the same discussion about NIST RNGs or 
certificates or key lengths over and over again.

And, the people who do feel they know it all get tired and cranky with 
newcomers :)  Not without cause, because nobody pays them to be here, 
and nobody appreciates good expertise delivered quietly.  So being 
cranky and arrogant is actually good for business.  Security business is 
very sad, really.

>> Understandable, testable, safe.
> When 25% of your users never log in again, I would add "...for small
> values of safe".

Possibly speaking out of turn here, but I designed a similar system once 
which had the user-password encrypting the data store for that user. 
Nice and elegant, but it hits real world issues like that.  The real 
world issue I had was "I lost my password, reset it please!" which tends 
to be the #1 support problem for password-based systems.

The solution I came up with [1] is to encrypt the data to two keys.  One 
is the user's password and the other is support's key.  The latter can 
be offline, like an OpenPGP public key, and therefore subject to 
internal governance controls.


[1] which was never implemented, so who knows...

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