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Whitebox cryptography

(also WBC)

Whitebox cryptography definition

Whitebox cryptography safeguards cryptographic algorithms and keys when you cannot trust the executing system.

Traditional cryptographic algorithms assume a secure environment for encryption and decryption. However, real-world scenarios like mobile devices, cloud servers, or client applications may expose the system to potential attacks.

On the other hand, whitebox cryptography ensures robust security despite an adversary having full access to the executing system. In a whitebox attack, the adversary can observe and manipulate the internal state of the cryptographic algorithm, including intermediate values and keys, during operation.

To achieve this, whitebox cryptography combines techniques such as obfuscation, code transformations, and encryption of intermediate values. It transforms the cryptographic algorithm and its implementation, making it resistant to reverse engineering and the extraction of secret keys.

Whitebox cryptography plays a crucial role in applications where the security of cryptographic operations is vital, such as mobile payment systems, digital rights management (DRM), and secure communication protocols. It adds an extra layer of security to preserve sensitive data confidentiality and integrity.

See also: obfuscation, internet security

Whitebox cryptography techniques

  • Code obfuscation. It makes the code hard to understand and reverse engineer by utilizing techniques like dead code, obfuscated variable names, and obfuscated control flow.
  • Data encryption. Encrypts secret keys using a separate key not embedded in the software, making it challenging for attackers to extract the keys even if they reverse engineer the software.
  • Chaining operations. Combines the cryptographic operations and keys in a way that makes the isolation and extraction of a single key difficult.