I decided to encrypt my root partition with LUKS+LVM.
My ThinkPad setup:
- Samsung 830 128GB SSD
- 750GB HDD
- Core 2 Duo 2,5 GHz P9500
- 8GB RAM
But the more I read, the less I understand about those two following subjects:
1a. The cipher
I was going to use SHA1 instead of 2/512 (as some suggest), because of that quote from
5.20 LUKS is broken! It uses SHA-1!
No, it is not. SHA-1 is (academically) broken for finding collisions, but not for using it in a key-derivation function. And that collision vulnerability is for non-iterated use only. And you need the hash-value in verbatim.
This basically means that if you already have a slot-key, and you have set the PBKDF2 iteration count to 1 (it is > 10'000 normally), you could (maybe) derive a different passphrase that gives you the the same slot-key. But if you have the slot-key, you can already unlock the key-slot and get the master key, breaking everything. So basically, this SHA-1 vulnerability allows you to open a LUKS container with high effort when you already have it open.
The real problem here is people that do not understand crypto and claim things are broken just because some mechanism is used that has been broken for a specific different use. The way the mechanism is used matters very much. A hash that is broken for one use can be completely secure for other uses and here it is.
Which I read as "there is no point of using anything other than SHA-1". But then some people tell me, that it's not exactly like that. So I no longer know what to think.
Also, I could not find any information whether the cipher has any influence on disk read/write/seek performance once the disk is unlocked and system logged into.
So does the complexity of the cipher affect only the "performance" on password entering stage, or also during normal use of the system?
2. The algorithm
I have been reading on this since couple of days, but the more I read, the more confused I get. Everything I read says that AES is the fastest, and Serpent is the slowest. But not according to my laptop:
$ cryptsetup benchmark Tests are approximate using memory only (no storage IO). PBKDF2-sha1 344926 iterations per second PBKDF2-sha256 198593 iterations per second PBKDF2-sha512 129007 iterations per second PBKDF2-ripemd160 271933 iterations per second PBKDF2-whirlpool 134295 iterations per second # Algorithm | Key | Encryption | Decryption aes-cbc 128b 149.8 MiB/s 147.9 MiB/s serpent-cbc 128b 51.0 MiB/s 196.4 MiB/s twofish-cbc 128b 127.6 MiB/s 152.5 MiB/s aes-cbc 256b 114.3 MiB/s 113.8 MiB/s serpent-cbc 256b 51.2 MiB/s 198.9 MiB/s twofish-cbc 256b 129.8 MiB/s 167.5 MiB/s aes-xts 256b 153.3 MiB/s 150.6 MiB/s serpent-xts 256b 176.4 MiB/s 184.1 MiB/s twofish-xts 256b 160.8 MiB/s 159.8 MiB/s aes-xts 512b 115.4 MiB/s 112.1 MiB/s serpent-xts 512b 178.6 MiB/s 184.2 MiB/s twofish-xts 512b 160.7 MiB/s 158.9 MiB/s
So it appears that Serpent's not only the fastest, but on top of that it is the fastest with the most complex key.
Shouldn't it be the other way around? Am I reading it wrong, or something?