Revealer Warning and Upgrade

on 18.08.2018 user Alan Evans published “Revealer Deep dive and warning” on medium, warning against Revealer re-use and raising questions about the security of the Pseudo Random Number Generator. To address those concerns:

Revealer is based on a One Time Pad and should be used to encrypt one single secret. It is not secure to use the same Revealer multiple times. We understand that the warning against re-use on our FAQ was not loud enough and have added an extra warning directly on the software encryption dialog .

To eliminate any further concerns about security of the PRNG Revealer will upgrade to the provable secure HMAC_DRBG (SHA-512). The code is already patched in the Electrum master repository and will be available from the next release. An attack in the current implementation has not been demonstrated.

 

What is the issue with the PRNG previously used?
Observing a sufficient number of outputs from a Mersenne Twister (MT) allows a attacker to reconstruct the internal state and predict all future outputs. A secret encrypted with Revealer does not leak enough information to be able to recover the internal state of MT. A few leaked 1 bit states won’t help much in well known attack vectors. We are not aware of any possible attack in the current implementation. Nevertheless, MT is not recommended for cryptographic use, and it could become a problem for larger or different versions. From the next release, the noise will be generated using the Deterministic Random Bit Generator HMAC_DRBG (SHA-512). It will continue to be seeded with 128bit entropy from cryptographic secure /dev/urandom.

 

What’s the problem with using a Revealer to encrypt multiple secrets?
Revealer is based on a One Time Pad and should be used to encrypt one single secret. In possession of multiple secrets encrypted for the same Revealer it can be attacked. We have included a explicit warning in the software to avoid user mistake. Encrypting more than one secret is still possible, and might be desirable for some threat models. See more information on our https://revealer.cc/faq

 

What users should do?
It is recommended to upgrade your backups. The patched version of the software is merged into Electrum master repository and will be available in the next release. Make sure you download Electrum from https://electrum.org and no other website. Only encrypt multiple secrets for the same Revealer if you know what you are doing and understand the risks involved.

 

Published: 28.08.2018