BDES(1) BSD General Commands Manual BDES(1)
bdes -- encrypt / decrypt using the Data Encryption Standard (DES)
bdes [-abdp] [-F N] [-f N] [-k key] [-m N] [-o N] [-v vector]
The DES cipher should no longer be considered secure. Please consider using a more modern alternative.
The bdes utility implements all DES modes of operation described in FIPS PUB 81, including alternative cipher feedback mode and both authen-
tication modes. The bdes utility reads from the standard input and writes to the standard output. By default, the input is encrypted using
cipher block chaining (CBC) mode. Using the same key for encryption and decryption preserves plain text.
All modes but the electronic code book (ECB) mode require an initialization vector; if none is supplied, the zero vector is used. If no key
is specified on the command line, the user is prompted for one (see getpass(3) for more details).
The options are as follows:
-a The key and initialization vector strings are to be taken as ASCII, suppressing the special interpretation given to leading ``0X'',
``0x'', ``0B'', and ``0b'' characters. This flag applies to both the key and initialization vector.
-b Use ECB mode.
-d Decrypt the input.
-F N Use N-bit alternative CFB mode. Currently N must be a multiple of 7 between 7 and 56 inclusive (this does not conform to the alter-
native CFB mode specification).
-f N Use N-bit CFB mode. Currently N must be a multiple of 8 between 8 and 64 inclusive (this does not conform to the standard CFB mode
-k key Use key as the cryptographic key.
-m N Compute a message authentication code (MAC) of N bits on the input. The value of N must be between 1 and 64 inclusive; if N is not a
multiple of 8, enough 0 bits will be added to pad the MAC length to the nearest multiple of 8. Only the MAC is output. MACs are
only available in CBC mode or in CFB mode.
-o N Use N-bit output feedback (OFB) mode. Currently N must be a multiple of 8 between 8 and 64 inclusive (this does not conform to the
OFB mode specification).
-p Disable the resetting of the parity bit. This flag forces the parity bit of the key to be used as typed, rather than making each
character be of odd parity. It is used only if the key is given in ASCII.
Set the initialization vector to vector; the vector is interpreted in the same way as the key. The vector is ignored in ECB mode.
The key and initialization vector are taken as sequences of ASCII characters which are then mapped into their bit representations. If either
begins with ``0X'' or ``0x'', that one is taken as a sequence of hexadecimal digits indicating the bit pattern; if either begins with ``0B''
or ``0b'', that one is taken as a sequence of binary digits indicating the bit pattern. In either case, only the leading 64 bits of the key
or initialization vector are used, and if fewer than 64 bits are provided, enough 0 bits are appended to pad the key to 64 bits.
According to the DES standard, the low-order bit of each character in the key string is deleted. Since most ASCII representations set the
high-order bit to 0, simply deleting the low-order bit effectively reduces the size of the key space from 2^56 to 2^48 keys. To prevent
this, the high-order bit must be a function depending in part upon the low-order bit; so, the high-order bit is set to whatever value gives
odd parity. This preserves the key space size. Note this resetting of the parity bit is not done if the key is given in binary or hex, and
can be disabled for ASCII keys as well.
For implementors wishing to write software compatible with this program, the following notes are provided. This software is believed to be
compatible with the implementation of the data encryption standard distributed by Sun Microsystems, Inc.
In the ECB and CBC modes, plaintext is encrypted in units of 64 bits (8 bytes, also called a block). To ensure that the plaintext file is
encrypted correctly, bdes will (internally) append from 1 to 8 bytes, the last byte containing an integer stating how many bytes of that
final block are from the plaintext file, and encrypt the resulting block. Hence, when decrypting, the last block may contain from 0 to 7
characters present in the plaintext file, and the last byte tells how many. Note that if during decryption the last byte of the file does
not contain an integer between 0 and 7, either the file has been corrupted or an incorrect key has been given. A similar mechanism is used
for the OFB and CFB modes, except that those simply require the length of the input to be a multiple of the mode size, and the final byte
contains an integer between 0 and one less than the number of bytes being used as the mode. (This was another reason that the mode size must
be a multiple of 8 for those modes.)
Unlike Sun's implementation, unused bytes of that last block are not filled with random data, but instead contain what was in those byte
positions in the preceding block. This is quicker and more portable, and does not weaken the encryption significantly.
If the key is entered in ASCII, the parity bits of the key characters are set so that each key character is of odd parity. Unlike Sun's
implementation, it is possible to enter binary or hexadecimal keys on the command line, and if this is done, the parity bits are not reset.
This allows testing using arbitrary bit patterns as keys.
The Sun implementation always uses an initialization vector of 0 (that is, all zeroes). By default, bdes does too, but this may be changed
from the command line.
Data Encryption Standard, Federal Information Processing Standard #46, National Bureau of Standards, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington
DC, January 1977.
DES Modes of Operation, Federal Information Processing Standard #81, National Bureau of Standards, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington
DC, December 1980.
Dorothy Denning, Cryptography and Data Security, Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., Reading, MA, 1982.
Matt Bishop, Implementation Notes on bdes(1), Technical Report PCS-TR-91-158, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Dartmouth
College, Hanover, NH 03755, April 1991.
THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY THE REGENTS AND CONTRIBUTORS ``AS IS'' AND
ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE
IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE
ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE REGENTS OR CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE
FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL
DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS
OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION)
HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT
LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY
OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF
As the key or key schedule is stored in memory, the encryption can be compromised if memory is readable. Additionally, programs which dis-
play programs' arguments may compromise the key and initialization vector, if they are specified on the command line. To avoid this bdes
overwrites its arguments, however, the obvious race cannot currently be avoided.
Certain specific keys should be avoided because they introduce potential weaknesses; these keys, called the weak and semiweak keys, are (in
hex notation, where p is either 0 or 1, and P is either 'e' or 'f'):
This is inherent in the DES algorithm; see Moore and Simmons, "Cycle structure of the DES with weak and semi-weak keys", Advances in
Cryptology - Crypto '86 Proceedings, pp. 9-32, Springer-Verlag New York, 1987.
September 20, 2013 BSD