[CCCure CISSP] Q13April-13 Some cccure Quiz question doubts

Hi guys,

I have some doubts regarding some cccure Quiz questions and concepts mentioned below. Would really appreciate it if you could take out some time and help me with them.

A chosen-ciphertext attack is one
in which cryptanalyst may choose a piece of ciphertext and attempt to obtain the corresponding decrypted plaintext. This type of attack is generally most applicable to public-key cryptosystems.

A chosen-ciphertext attack (CCA) is an attack model for cryptanalysis in which the cryptanalyst gathers information, at least in part, by choosing a ciphertext and obtaining its decryption under an unknown key. In the attack, an adversary has a chance to enter one or more known ciphertexts into the system and obtain the resulting plaintexts. From these pieces of information the adversary can attempt to recover the hidden secret key used for decryption.

A number of otherwise secure schemes can be defeated under chosen-ciphertext attack. For example, the El Gamal cryptosystem is semantically secure under chosen-plaintext attack, but this semantic security can be trivially defeated under a chosen-ciphertext attack. Early versions of RSA padding used in the SSL protocol were vulnerable to a sophisticated adaptive chosen-ciphertext attack which revealed SSL session keys. Chosen-ciphertext attacks have implications for some self-synchronizing stream ciphers as well. Designers of tamper-resistant cryptographic smart cards must be particularly cognizant of these attacks, as these devices may be completely under the control of an adversary, who can issue a large number of
chosen-ciphertexts in an attempt to recover the hidden secret key.

According to RSA:

Cryptanalytic attacks are generally classified into six categories that distinguish the kind of information the cryptanalyst has available to mount an attack. The categories of attack are listed here roughly in increasing order of the quality of information available to the cryptanalyst, or, equivalently, in decreasing order of the level of difficulty to the cryptanalyst. The objective of the cryptanalyst in all cases is to be able to decrypt new pieces of ciphertext without additional information.
The ideal for a cryptanalyst is to extract the secret key.

A ciphertext-onlyattack is one in
which the cryptanalyst obtains a sample of ciphertext, without the plaintext associated with it. This data is relatively easy to obtain in many scenarios, but a successful ciphertext-only attack is generally difficult, and requires a very large ciphertext sample. Such attack was possible on cipher using Code Book Mode where frequency analysis was being used and even thou only the ciphertext was available, it was still possible to eventually collect enough data and decipher it without having the key.

A known-plaintext attack is one in which the cryptanalyst obtains a sample of ciphertext and the corresponding plaintext as well. The known-plaintext attack (KPA) or crib is an attack model for cryptanalysis where the attacker has samples of both the plaintext and its encrypted version (ciphertext), and is at liberty to make use of them to reveal further secret information such as secret keys and code books.

A chosen-plaintext attack is one
in which the cryptanalyst is able to choose a quantity of plaintext and then obtain the corresponding encrypted ciphertext. A chosen-plaintext attack (CPA) is an attack model for cryptanalysis which presumes that the attacker has the capability to choose arbitrary plaintexts to be encrypted and obtain the corresponding ciphertexts. The goal of the attack is to gain some further information which reduces the security of the encryption scheme. In the worst case, a chosen-plaintext attack could reveal the scheme's secret key.

This appears, at first glance, to be an unrealistic model; it would certainly be unlikely that an attacker could persuade a human cryptographer to encrypt large amounts of plaintexts of the attacker's choosing. Modern cryptography, on the other hand, is implemented in software or hardware and is used for a diverse range of applications; for many cases, a chosen-plaintext attack is often very feasible. Chosen-plaintext attacks become extremely important in the context of public key cryptography, where the encryption key is public and attackers can encrypt any plaintext they choose.

Any cipher that can prevent chosen-plaintext attacks is then also guaranteed to be secure against known-plaintext and ciphertext-only attacks; this is a conservative approach to security.

Two forms of chosen-plaintext attack can be distinguished:

oBatch chosen-plaintext
attack, where the cryptanalyst chooses all plaintexts before any of them are encrypted. This is often the meaning of an unqualified use of "chosen-plaintext attack".

oAdaptive
chosen-plaintext attack, is a special case of chosen-plaintext attack in which the cryptanalyst is able to choose plaintext samples dynamically, and alter his or her choices based on the results of previous encryptions. The cryptanalyst makes a series of interactive queries, choosing subsequent plaintexts based on the information from the previous encryptions.

Non-randomized (deterministic) public key encryption algorithms are vulnerable to simple "dictionary"-type attacks, where the attacker builds a table of likely messages and their corresponding ciphertexts. To find the decryption of some observed ciphertext,
the attacker simply looks the ciphertext up in the table. As a result, public-key definitions of security under chosen-plaintext attack require probabilistic encryption (i.e., randomized encryption). Conventional symmetric ciphers, in which the same key is used to encrypt and decrypt a text, may also be vulnerable to other forms of chosen-plaintext attack, for example, differential cryptanalysis of block ciphers.

An adaptive-chosen-ciphertext is the adaptive version of the above attack. A cryptanalyst can mount an attack of this type in a scenario in which he has free use of a piece of decryption hardware, but
is unable to extract the decryption key from it.

An adaptive chosen-ciphertext attack (abbreviated as CCA2) is an interactive form of chosen-ciphertext attack in which an attacker sends a number of ciphertexts to be decrypted, then uses the results of these decryptions to select subsequent ciphertexts. It is to be distinguished from an indifferent chosen-ciphertext attack (CCA1).

The goal of this attack is to gradually reveal information about an encrypted message, or about the decryption key itself. For public-key systems, adaptive-chosen-ciphertexts are generally applicable only when they
have the property of ciphertext malleability — that is, a ciphertext can be modified in specific ways that will have a predictable effect on the decryption of that message.

A Plaintext Only Attack is simply a bogus detractor. If you have the plaintext only then there is no need to perform any attack.

Thanks to William Moon for sending feedback to improve this question. Thanks to Steve Abatangle for sending feedback to improve this question. Thanks to Jan Kozanek for sending feedback to improve this question.

Comment:

Tip from Clement:

This is a great example of a question where you have to carefully read the WHOLE sentence. Some people will read the beginning only and then answer Ciphertext Only attack as the most common type of attack. However, the end of the question speaks specifically about Public Key systems which changes the answer to this question. Do take the time to fullly read the questions on the real exam.

My doubt:Please explain how as per Clement the fact that the question speaks about Public Key systems changes the answer to this question from “cipher text only attack” to “chosen cipher text attack”?