A beginner's guide to constant-time cryptography (2017)

This page summarizes the projects mentioned and recommended in the original post on news.ycombinator.com

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  • constantine

    Constantine: modular, high-performance, zero-dependency cryptography stack for proof systems and blockchain protocols.

  • I've written and given a lot of references to attacks, countermeasures, fighting the compilers and even non-cryptographic side-channel attacks to uncover someone's Twitter identity:

    - https://github.com/mratsim/constantine/wiki/Constant-time-ar...

  • go

    The Go programming language

  • I noticed in July of 2022 that Go did exactly the vulnerable example and reported it to the security team.

    https://github.com/golang/go/issues/53849

    It was fixed as of Go 1.21 https://go.dev/doc/go1.21

    ---

    The article cites JavaScript, which is not constant time. There's no sure way to do constant time operations in JavaScript and thus no secure way to do crypto directly in Javascript. Browsers like Firefox depend on low level calls which should be implemented in languages that are constant time capable.

    JavaScript needs something like constant time WASM in order to do crypto securely, but seeing the only constant time WASM project on GitHub has only 16 stars and the last commit was 2 years ago, it doesn't appear to have much interest. https://github.com/WebAssembly/constant-time

    However, for JavaScript, I recommend Paul's library Noble which is "hardened to be algorithmically constant time". It is by far the best library available for JavaScript. https://github.com/paulmillr/noble-secp256k1

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  • constant-time

    Constant-time WebAssembly

  • I noticed in July of 2022 that Go did exactly the vulnerable example and reported it to the security team.

    https://github.com/golang/go/issues/53849

    It was fixed as of Go 1.21 https://go.dev/doc/go1.21

    ---

    The article cites JavaScript, which is not constant time. There's no sure way to do constant time operations in JavaScript and thus no secure way to do crypto directly in Javascript. Browsers like Firefox depend on low level calls which should be implemented in languages that are constant time capable.

    JavaScript needs something like constant time WASM in order to do crypto securely, but seeing the only constant time WASM project on GitHub has only 16 stars and the last commit was 2 years ago, it doesn't appear to have much interest. https://github.com/WebAssembly/constant-time

    However, for JavaScript, I recommend Paul's library Noble which is "hardened to be algorithmically constant time". It is by far the best library available for JavaScript. https://github.com/paulmillr/noble-secp256k1

  • noble-secp256k1

    Fastest 4KB JS implementation of secp256k1 signatures and ECDH

  • I noticed in July of 2022 that Go did exactly the vulnerable example and reported it to the security team.

    https://github.com/golang/go/issues/53849

    It was fixed as of Go 1.21 https://go.dev/doc/go1.21

    ---

    The article cites JavaScript, which is not constant time. There's no sure way to do constant time operations in JavaScript and thus no secure way to do crypto directly in Javascript. Browsers like Firefox depend on low level calls which should be implemented in languages that are constant time capable.

    JavaScript needs something like constant time WASM in order to do crypto securely, but seeing the only constant time WASM project on GitHub has only 16 stars and the last commit was 2 years ago, it doesn't appear to have much interest. https://github.com/WebAssembly/constant-time

    However, for JavaScript, I recommend Paul's library Noble which is "hardened to be algorithmically constant time". It is by far the best library available for JavaScript. https://github.com/paulmillr/noble-secp256k1

  • subtls

    A proof-of-concept TypeScript TLS 1.3 client

  • Thanks, that’s a helpful summary. I knew about the ed25519 issue (but not the others) from writing this: https://github.com/jawj/subtls

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NOTE: The number of mentions on this list indicates mentions on common posts plus user suggested alternatives. Hence, a higher number means a more popular project.

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