8.16. Performing Authenticated Key Exchange Using RSA

Problem

Two parties in a network communication want to communicate using symmetric encryption. At least one party has the RSA public key of the other, which was either transferred in a secure manner or will be validated by a trusted third party.

You want to do authentication and key exchange without any of the information leakage generally associated with password-based protocols.

Solution

Depending on your authentication requirements, you can do one-way authenticating key transport, two-way authenticating key transport, or two-way authenticating key agreement.

Discussion

Warning

Instead of using this recipe to build your own key establishment protocols, it is much better to use a preexisting network protocol such as SSL/TLS (see Recipe 9.1 and Recipe 9.2) or to use PAX (Recipe 8.15) alongside the secure channel code from Recipe 9.12.

With key transport, one entity in a system chooses a key and sends it to the entity with which it wishes to communicate, generally by encrypting it with the RSA public key of that entity.

In such a scenario, the sender has to have some way to ensure that it really does have the public key of the entity with which it wants to communicate. It can do this either by using a trusted third party (see Chapter 10) or by arranging to transport the public key in a secure manner, such as on a CD-R.

If the recipient can send a message back to the sender using the session key, and that message decrypts correctly, the ...

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