A set of tools for XOR encryption/decryption/key recovery (based on known plaintext).
git clone https://github.com/lukaskuzmiak/xor_tools.git python setup.py install
First, we create example XOR encrypted
xor_encrypt_file -f samples/binary_pe32 -o encrypted.file -k "secret"
You can also enter non-ascii keys as
To recover the secret key
secret, the second tool
xor_key_recovery is used. We expect a PE binary to contain a phrase
This program cannot be run in DOS. We don't know the key length, but after few tries with consecutive
-n 3 ... we finally try
xor_key_recovery -f encrypted.file -o decrypted.file -p "This program cannot be run in DOS" -n 6 [+] Found plaintext at position: 78 [*] Key found: 736563726574 [+] Saving decrypted file to: decrypted.file
You can also enter non-ascii plaintext as
How it works
It's quite easy to understand on example but it's not a formal proof though (or maybe because of it).
First we need part of plaintext before being encrypted. Anything slightly longer than key length would be sufficient but to avoid false positives twice as long plaintext is preferred. We could in many cases guess it (like common phrases, strings etc.).
P = "This program cannot be run in DOS"
The other thing we will need is secret key length -- we could also guess it or iterate over possible key lengths (n=3, n=4, n=5 ...).
keylength = 6
Now, if we xor symbols from plaintext that are keylength apart, we receive:
T = P[i] XOR P[i+k_len]
We build template that way of first part of the string XORed with another symbols one keylength apart.
Surprising XOR cipher characteristics
Because in ciphertext symbols one keylength apart are XORed with the same secret key symbol we get:
C[i] = P[i] XOR Key[i] C[i+k_len] = P[i+k_len] XOR Key[i]
If we XOR these two, we surprisingly (because of XOR characteristics) receive something independent from secret key used:
C[i] XOR C[i+k_len] = ( P[i] XOR Key[i] ) XOR ( P[i+k_len] XOR Key[i] ) = = ( P[i] XOR P[i+k_len] ) XOR ( Key[i] XOR Key[i] ) = = P[i] XOR P[i+k_len]
This is exactly the same, as our template and it's independent from secret key.
Now, when we do this for whole ciphertext (eg. encrypted file) we look for our template. This way, we've found place in ciphertext where our encrypted string is and w know what it's plaintext version is.
From this place, it's trivial to extract secret key.
Bugs & Credits
Please submit bugs/propositions via GitHub.
Original author: nshadov
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