Adding Alternative Ciphers to the wolfSSL Embedded SSL Library

wolfSSL is modular. We’ve got two key modules: wolfSSL handles all SSL needs while CTaoCrypt handles all cryptographic needs including block ciphers, stream ciphers, message digests, hashing, public key cryptography, certificates, and various helper utilities.  Our topic for this post is our crypto module CTaoCrypt. 
CTaoCrypt is our implementation of cryptography components including various block and stream ciphers that can be used underneath the SSL protocol. A complete description of our ciphers is available here:

Not all ciphers are created equally. Some are better than others, depending on the task at hand. CTaoCrypt includes the traditional and most popular block ciphers, which are DES, 3DES, and AES, and the popular stream cipher ARC4. In recent years, the European Union funded the eStream project to identify next generation stream ciphers. The project concluded in 2008. A description of the eStream project is found here: The eStream project was looking to identify ciphers that could handle high throughput requirements and/or operate well in resource constrained environments. 
High throughput and resource constrained environments (like VoIP on devices) is where wolfSSL maintains a technology lead over the pack of SSL libraries, so it was natural for us to maintain a keen interest in the results from eStream. The net result is our implementation of the HC-128 and RABBIT ciphers in wolfSSL. If you’d like to see a comparison of cipher performance, see slide 16 of our OSCON presentation, showing relative performance of the cipher suites in specific implementation of Secure Memcache. 
Other ciphers can be added to CTaoCrypt for additional purposes, and we’re happy to do it if we see a need from our customers. Watch this space for further announcements! 

More news on the Mobile Internet Tsunami – Plus thoughts on how the Tsunami drives some less visible markets

This article from Embedded Internet Design gives excellent coverage on the recent and upcoming technologies in the Mobile Internet Tsunami.  We’d like to extrapolate from the article and think about some of the less visible, less glamorous segments of the market that will change dramatically due to the innovation and investment brought about by the Tsunami. 
Here’s our thinking:
1. We agree with the article.  The waves in this Tsunami are just getting bigger and bigger.
2. The visible market driver is consumer adoption.
3. Chips, boards, and systems costs get driven down and horsepower goes up, really fast…of course.  We’re all used to that.
4. The less visible segments of the market get driven along by the investment and innovation in the Tsunami.
5. This means dramatic changes in invisible computing, and of course the security for these invisible devices.
One of the less visible markets we’ve noticed changing fast is sensors in the industrial automation, physical security, and process driven industries.  These users deploy a lot of chips, so they absolutely, positively have to be low cost designs.  That means resource constraints, low memory usage, and tight code. 
In the sensor space, 1.0 designs just did the sensing, collection and storage of data.  2.0 designs added wireless connectivity.  The 3.0 designs we’ve been involved with add security and data transmission straight to the cloud!  Not only do we think that’s cool, we think it is effective and efficient design. 
Us mobile and embedded guys live in exciting times that are changing fast!  Do you have thoughts on how the Tsunami affects the less visible parts of the embedded computing infrastructure?  Let us know what you think at

A Comparison of TLS 1.1 and TLS 1.2

As stated in the TLS 1.1 and 1.2 protocol definitions (RFC 4346, RFC 5246), “The primary goal of the TLS protocol is to provide privacy and data integrity between two communicating applications.” TLS 1.2 is an improvement to the TLS 1.1 standard, but how exactly do they differ? What was changed in TLS 1.2 to warrant a new version of the protocol?

Listed below are the changes made to both version 1.1 and 1.2 of the TLS protocol. TLS 1.2 support is slowly making it’s way into existing projects. wolfSSL embedded SSL/TLS fully supports SSL 3.0, TLS 1.0, TLS 1.1, and TLS 1.2.

A. TLS 1.1
This protocol was defined in RFC 4346 in April of 2006, and is an update to TLS 1.0. The major changes are:
– The Implicit Initialization Vector (IV) is replaced with an explicit IV to protect against Cipher block chaining (CBC) attacks.
– Handling of padded errors is changed to use the bad_record_mac alert rather than the decryption_failed alert to protect against CBC attacks.
– IANA registries are defined for protocol parameters
– Premature closes no longer cause a session to be non-resumable.

RFC 4346:

B. TLS 1.2
This protocol was defined in RFC 5246 in August of 2008. Based on TLS 1.1, TLS 1.2 contains improved flexibility. One of the primary goals of the TLS 1.2 revision was to remove the protocol’s dependency on the MD5 and SHA-1 digest algorithms. The major differences include:
– The MD5/SHA-1 combination in the pseudorandom function (PRF) was replaced with cipher-suite-specified PRFs.
– The MD5/SHA-1 combination in the digitally-signed element was replaced with a single hash. Signed elements include a field explicitly specifying the hash algorithm used.
– There was substantial cleanup to the client`s and server`s ability to specify which hash and signature algorithms they will accept.
– Addition of support for authenticated encryption with additional data modes.
– TLS Extensions definition and AES Cipher Suites were merged in.
– Tighter checking of EncryptedPreMasterSecret version numbers.
– Many of the requirements were tightened
– Verify_data length depends on the cipher suite
– Description of Bleichenbacher/Dlima attack defenses cleaned up.
– Alerts must be sent in many cases
– After a certificate_request, if no certificates are available, clients now MUST send an empty certificate list.
– TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA is now the mandatory to implement cipher suite.
– Added HMAC-SHA256 cipher suites.
– Removed IDEA and DES cipher suites. They are now deprecated.

RFC 5246:

C. Goals of the TLS Protocol

– Cryptographic security: TLS should be used to establish a secure connection between two parties.
– Interoperability: Independent programmers should be able to develop applications utilizing TLS that can successfully exchange cryptographic parameters without knowledge of one another`s code.
– Extensibility: TLS seeks to provide a framework into which new public key and bulk encryption methods can be incorporated as necessary. This will also accomplish two sub-goals: preventing the need to create a new protocol (and risking the introduction of possible new weaknesses) and avoiding the need to implement an entire new security library.
– Relative efficiency: Cryptographic operations tend to be highly CPU intensive, particularly public key operations. For this reason, the TLS protocol has incorporated an optional session caching scheme to reduce the number of connections that need to be established from scratch. Additionally, care has been taken to reduce network activity.

If you would like to read more about SSL or TLS, here are several resources that might be helpful:
TLS – Wikipedia (
SSL versus TLS – What`s the Difference? (
Cisco – SSL: Foundation for Web Security (

As always, if you have any questions or would like to talk to the wolfSSL team about more information, please contact

What comes next after smartphones?

As participants in securing the mobile internet tsunami, we’ve been keeping a keen eye on the future security needs of the next generation of devices.  We view it from both project involvement and product management for our embedded SSL and embedded web server products.    This article at Embedded Internet Design gives a view of what’s coming next in smartphones. 
If you’re also guy or a gal out there tinkering with this stuff and testing your ideas with an eye on security, take a look at the beagleboard, pandaboard, and mbed.  wolfSSL and the yaSSL Embedded Web server will be there for you!

Book review on ?C/TCP-IP by Christian Legare

We’ve integrated wolfSSL with ?C/TCP-IP and can say it is an excellent implementation well designed for embedded systems.  In fact, we can say that the integration process drove us to make some great improvements to our product.  For example, our next release will not require the standard C library for even greater flexibility when implementing SSL.  But more about that later!  Here’s the link to the book review:

Our SSL Programming Tutorial is Up

We have recently released an SSL programming tutorial which walks through the process of integrating wolfSSL into a simple application. The wolfSSL embedded SSL library is used, along with a simple echoserver and echoclient. The echoserver and echoclient examples have been taken from the popular book titled Unix Network Programming, Volume 1, 3rd Edition by Richard Stevens, Bill Fenner, and Andrew Rudoff.

Some of the topics covered in this SSL coding tutorial include:
– Required libraries
– What headers are needed
– Startup and Shutdown of wolfSSL
– Sending Data over an SSL connection
– Importing and using Certificates

The SSL tutorial can be found here: SSL Tutorial. All of the source code for the examples is available for download and is linked to from the SSL tutorial webpage.

If you have any questions, feel free to post to our support forums (, or contact us at

yaSSL Annual Report

yaSSL made dramatic progress this year on a number of fronts, notably in open source community usage, embedded systems adoption, and technology improvements!  Here’s what we’ve done this year, with an outline of our plans for the year to come in a blog post to follow:
1. Participated in 4 industry events, including OSCON, Embedded Live, Embedded Systems Computing, and ARM TechCon. 
1. We launched a new and improved web site including new product support forums.
3. We’ve made significant incremental improvements to our documentation.
4. New partners!  We’ll announce two new resale partners next week!
5. New technology partners: Canonical, Red Hat, Novell, Freescale and Express Logic.
6. Added a new Competitive Upgrade Program for wolfSSL. More details can be found at our Consulting Services page, under “Rip and Replace Competitive Upgrade
Our long list of technology improvements includes:
1. ThreadX port.  wolfSSL now supports building and running on ThreadX “out of the box”.
2. GoAhead Web Server port.  wolfSSL now builds and runs with the GoAhead Web Server through the wolfSSL OpenSSL compatibility layer.
3. Sniffer.  wolfSSL now has the ability to sniff an SSL session with the server`s private key and decode the application data.
4. Swig.  wolfSSL has a swig interface file to allow multiple language access.
5. Python.  wolfSSL now has some python bindings for CTaoCrypt.
6. AES-NI.  wolfSSL now has AES-NI assembly optimizations for supported Intel hardware “Westmere”.
7. ARM. wolfSSL now has assembly optimizations for fastmath Public Key operations.
8. Mongoose.  wolfSSL now builds and runs with the Mongoose Web Server with the wolfSSL OpenSSL compatibility layer.
9. JSSE.  wolfSSL can now be a plug-in for system Java SSL Providers on OS X and Linux.
10. Android.  wolfSSL is now ported to Android.
11. SHA-512.  wolfSSL now supports the SHA-512 hash on systems with support for 64 bit types.
12. RIPEMD-160.  wolfSSL now supports RIPEMD-160 as a hashing algorithm.
13. Key generation.  wolfSSL now supports key generation.
14. Certificate generation.  wolfSSL now supports certificate generation.
15. yaSSL Embedded Web Server.  Our “own” web server with wolfSSL for security.
16. Low static memory.  wolfSSL went from a default of 48kB static memory per SSL session to 4kB. (alpha)
17. Low dynamic memory.  wolfSSL decreased runtime dynamic memory use. (alpha)
18. Porting.  Increased the portability/flexibility of using wolfSSL on non-standard build environments with an OS header with defines that control the build.
19. No stdlib.  wolfSSL can now be built without any C standard library headers, developers can now use their own “standard” library plug-in. (alpha)
20. Secure memcache.  wolfSSL can now be used to secure memcache network communication including client/patient sensitive data/health records from internal and external snoopers locally and in the cloud. (beta)
21. Mbed.  wolfSSL can be built and run on the Mbed microcontroller. (alpha)
We’re happy with our progress this year, and look forward to making even more improvements next year!  We’ll be going into 2011 with greater resources and plan to move this project and business forward at an even faster rate. 

wolfSSL and TomatoUSB


The TomatoUSB community has integrated wolfSSL into the TomatoUSB Firmware as of release 53. wolfSSL is being used in non-VPN editions of the firmware to provide SSL support for httdp and dyndns. They have upgraded to TLS 1.0 from SSL v 2/3 which was previously being used.

TomatoUSB is an alternative linux-based firmware for powering Broadcom-based ethernet routers. It is a modification of the famous Tomato firmware. Some of the added enhancements include support for USB port, wireless-N mode support, and support for several newer router models.

We always like to support community projects which use our products. If you have an open source project and are using wolfSSL or one of our other products, let us know and we’ll gladly support you. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact us at

For more information about the TomatoUSB project, visit their website:

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