Template:Infobox block cipher Blowfish is a keyed, symmetric block cipher, designed in 1993 by Bruce Schneier and included in a large number of cipher suites and encryption products. Blowfish provides a good encryption rate in software and no effective cryptanalysis of it has been found to date. However, the Advanced Encryption Standard now receives more attention.
Schneier designed Blowfish as a generalpurpose algorithm, intended as an alternative to the aging DES and free of the problems and constraints associated with other algorithms. At the time Blowfish was released, many other designs were proprietary, encumbered by patents or were commercial/government secrets. Schneier has stated that, "Blowfish is unpatented, and will remain so in all countries. The algorithm is hereby placed in the public domain, and can be freely used by anyone."
Notable features of the design include keydependent Sboxes and a highly complex key schedule.
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The algorithm[]
Blowfish has a 64bit block size and a variable key length from 32 up to 448 bits.^{[1]} It is a 16round Feistel cipher and uses large keydependent Sboxes. It is similar in structure to CAST128, which uses fixed Sboxes.
The diagram to the left shows the action of Blowfish. Each line represents 32 bits. The algorithm keeps two subkey arrays: the 18entry Parray and four 256entry Sboxes. The Sboxes accept 8bit input and produce 32bit output. One entry of the Parray is used every round, and after the final round, each half of the data block is XORed with one of the two remaining unused Pentries.
The diagram to the upper right shows Blowfish's Ffunction. The function splits the 32bit input into four eightbit quarters, and uses the quarters as input to the Sboxes. The outputs are added modulo 2^{32} and XORed to produce the final 32bit output.
Decryption is exactly the same as encryption, except that P1, P2,..., P18 are used in the reverse order. This is not so obvious because xor is commutative and associative. A common mistake is to use inverse order of encryption as decryption algorithm (i.e. first XORing P17 and P18 to the ciphertext block, then using the Pentries in reverse order).
Blowfish's key schedule starts by initializing the Parray and Sboxes with values derived from the hexadecimal digits of pi, which contain no obvious pattern (see nothing up my sleeve number). The secret key is then, byte by byte, cycling the key if necessary, XORed with all the Pentries in order. A 64bit allzero block is then encrypted with the algorithm as it stands. The resultant ciphertext replaces P_{1} and P_{2}. The same ciphertext is then encrypted again with the new subkeys, and P_{3} and P_{4} are replaced by the new ciphertext. This continues, replacing the entire Parray and all the Sbox entries. In all, the Blowfish encryption algorithm will run 521 times to generate all the subkeys  about 4KB of data is processed.
Because the Parray is 576 bits long, and the key bytes are XORed through all these 576 bits during the initialization, many implementations support key sizes up to 576 bits. While this is certainly possible, the 448 bits limit is here to ensure that every bit of every subkey depends on every bit of the key^{[1]}, as the last four values of the Parray don't affect every bit of the ciphertext. This point should be taken in consideration for implementations with a different number of rounds, as even though it increases security against an exhaustive attack, it weakens the security guaranteed by the algorithm. And given the slow initialization of the cipher with each change of key, it is granted a natural protection against bruteforce attacks, which doesn't really justify key sizes longer than 448 bits.
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Cryptanalysis of Blowfish[]
There is no effective cryptanalysis on the fullround version of Blowfish known publicly as of 2010 . A sign extension bug in one publication of C code has been identified.^{[2]}
In 1996, Serge Vaudenay found a knownplaintext attack requiring 2^{8r + 1} known plaintexts to break, where r is the number of rounds. Moreover, he also found a class of weak keys that can be detected and broken by the same attack with only 2^{4r + 1} known plaintexts. This attack cannot be used against the regular Blowfish; it assumes knowledge of the keydependent Sboxes. Vincent Rijmen, in his Ph.D. thesis, introduced a secondorder differential attack that can break four rounds and no more.^{[3]} There remains no known way to break the full 16 rounds, apart from a bruteforce search.^{[4]}
Bruce Schneier notes that while Blowfish is still in use, he recommends using the more recent Twofish algorithm instead.^{[5]}
Blowfish in practice[]
Blowfish is a fast block cipher, except when changing keys. Each new key requires preprocessing equivalent to encrypting about 4 kilobytes of text, which is very slow compared to other block ciphers. This prevents its use in certain applications, but is not a problem in others. In one application, it is actually a benefit: the passwordhashing method used in OpenBSD uses an algorithm derived from Blowfish that makes use of the slow key schedule; the idea is that the extra computational effort required gives protection against dictionary attacks. See key strengthening.
Blowfish has a memory footprint of just over 4 kilobytes of RAM. This constraint is not a problem even for older desktop and laptop computers, though it does prevent use in the smallest embedded systems such as early smartcards.
Blowfish was one of the first secure block ciphers not subject to any patents and therefore freely available for anyone to use. This benefit has contributed to its popularity in cryptographic software.
See also[]
Notes and references[]
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Template:Refbegin
 Vincent Rijmen, "Cryptanalysis and design of iterated block ciphers", doctoral dissertation, October 1997.
 Bruce Schneier, Description of a New VariableLength Key, 64bit Block Cipher (Blowfish). Fast Software Encryption 1993: 191–204 [1].
 Bruce Schneier, The Blowfish Encryption Algorithm—One Year Later, Dr. Dobb's Journal, 20(9), p. 137, September 1995 [2].
 Serge Vaudenay, "On the weak keys of Blowfish," Fast Software Encryption (FSE'96), LNCS 1039, D. Gollmann, Ed., SpringerVerlag, 1996, pp. 27–32.
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External links[]

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