Initialization Vectors

I use the term initialization vector just to indicate the repeated sequence that is used to synch the receive crypto equipment; message indicator (MI) or starting variable (SV) are other terms that may be used. The page is used to quickly check if a certain block has already been encountered and where it is discussed in the blog (just as for the LFSR page).

An initialization vector (IV) is a initial block of bits that is used by several modes to randomize the encryption and hence to produce distinct ciphertexts even if the same plaintext is encrypted multiple times, without the need for a slower re-keying process. An initialization vector has different security requirements than a key, so usually it does not need to be secret, indeed it's usually prefixed to the ciphertext and transmitted in full public view. However, in most cases, it is important that an initialization vector is never reused under the same key [1] [2].
One could ask "why you do not consider the repeated sequences shown in LFSR/PRBS page as initialization vectors?" Well, it's simple. An Initialization Vector must be a unique, random, and unpredictable number (a binary sequence) used to “initialize” an encryption function, thus an adversary shouldn’t be able to predict it before the message is encrypted [3]. PRBS sequences, just for their nature, are generated by shift registers so they are predictable; more over the same sequences is frequently re-used within the same transmission (just because it's mostly used as synch).

Last update:  14th December, 2020

length (1) format encryption/device (2) HF waveform referring post
24 1 x 24 KG-40 Link-11 SLEW read here
64 3 x 64 TC-535 Additional Key (AK) 110-220Bd/330 FSK read here
128 1 x 128 "IDEA" algorithm [4] 188-110A read here
2 x 128
(8 x 64)
KG-84/KIV-7/BID S4285, S4481F/P, S4539,
188-110A, 150Bd/250FSK
read here
5 x 128 188-110A (*), S4539 read here
S4285 (*) read here
192 4 x 192 200Bd/400 MFSK-4 read here
216 3 x 216 188-110A read here
256 8 x 256 188-110A read here
1305 87 Phi-encoded bits KW-57/KY-99 (per 188-220D) LDL BW3 (S4538) read here

(*) the waveform exhibits four initial unmodulated tones at 500, 1200, 1700 and 2600 KHz which are non provided in the standard. Maybe the same modem/user (and encryption too)?

(1) the length is expressed in bits

(2) In this blog I often use terms like "KG-84", "KW-46", "BID",..., as well as the names of other cryptographic devices, but this does not necessarily mean that those devices are physically deployed! Rather than to the equipments, those names must be understood as referring to the used "algorithms", since - unless few exceptions - many of those devices are now obsolete and no longer used. Actually, the algorithms are emulated by interoperable and more compact devices such as - for example - the KIV-7M Programmable Multi-Channel Encryptor that can be used for communicating with a KIV-7 family device and the older KG-84/BID family of devices, or the KY-99 that is the more advanced version of the KY-57 unit.
Also note that these products are only used by the US Government, their contractors, and federally sponsored non-US Government activities, in accordance with the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), as well as by NATO and by the administrations of some NATO countries.

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