[Bitcoin-development] BIP32 - invalidation

Eric Lombrozo elombrozo at gmail.com
Sun Aug 10 01:20:09 UTC 2014

Does bitcoin properly handle the case of a hash collision? no - because it is considered too unlikely. The case of I_L >= n is also astronomically unlikely, so it's more a matter of improved performance and simpler data structures under expected circumstances and taking that less than 1 in 2^127 chance that it will fail, in which case we can recover by moving everything over to a new tree.

-Eric Lombrozo

On Aug 9, 2014, at 5:34 PM, second isogeny <secondisogeny at gmail.com> wrote:

> > Does anyone see any concerns when it comes to security of the proposed
> > change?
> Yes.  This proposal is less secure.
> It is incompatible in theory with existing implementations of the
> specification.  The incompatibility is also a potentially a security
> problem because it may cause users to believe a key is worthless when
> it is not or to lose funds when they are unable to spend them.
> It is also an untimely proposal and would be inconsiderate other parties
> who have done the work to produce correct and compatible implementations.
> > In case I_L >= n assign I_L := I_L mod n.
> This will make the selection of private keys uneven.
> The unevenness is small and it is unlikely to very matter much but it
> is objectively less secure.  Future advances in cryptography may make
> the distinction more important.  The change would eliminate any hope of
> the specification ever having provable security equal to random keys.
> The bignum modulo operation also requires complex additional logic and is
> just as likely to remain untested in implementations, though unit-testing
> can test these cases by replacing the hash function.
> Because of layering no suitable modulo may be available and an incorrect
> implementation could create a devastating weakness, like reflecting a
> large class of keys to a small number of values.  A similar error would
> be unlikely for an incorrect implementation of skipping and someone who
> managed to still fail would likely have failed either way.
> > most of the implementations don't do the checking at all, because tjen
> > it's rather hard at application level to implement skipping logic. OTOH
> There are many corner cases which must be handled in cryptographic
> software.
> You must handle the point at infinity cases, you must handle the signature
> having a value of zero (or you leak the private key), in the point
> arithemetics you must handle the special case of adding colinear points.
> If someone is unprepared to deal with these and many other complications
> they may want to leave writing this kind of software for other people.
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