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Broken Cryptography: 


    As technology continues to evolve, the need for secure applications has become more critical than ever. Cryptography plays a vital role in ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of data. However, when cryptography is implemented incorrectly or becomes outdated, it can lead to a vulnerability known as “broken cryptography.” In this blog, we will delve into the world of broken cryptography, exploring how to test for it, perform exploits, and provide a practical example of mobile application penetration testing.

    Understanding Broken Cryptography:

    Broken cryptography describes a cryptographic technique or protocol that is vulnerable to attack due to a defect in its design or implementation. It can happen for a number of reasons, such as poor algorithm selection, implementation issues, or the use of out-of-date cryptographic libraries.

    Testing for Broken Cryptography:

    To test for broken cryptography, a comprehensive approach should be followed. Here are some essential steps to consider:

    • Identify cryptographic implementations: Analyze the application to identify cryptographic algorithms and protocols in use. Common examples include AES, RSA, HMAC, SSL/TLS, etc.
    • Analyze key management: Evaluate how cryptographic keys are generated, stored, and transmitted. Look for vulnerabilities such as weak key generation, hardcoded keys, or weak key storage mechanisms.
    • Check algorithm usage: Verify if the algorithms used are secure and follow best practices. Outdated or weak algorithms (e.g., MD5 or SHA-1) should be identified and replaced with stronger alternatives.
    • Analyze encryption modes: Examine how encryption modes (e.g., ECB, CBC, CTR) are used. Insecure modes like ECB can lead to patterns in ciphertext, compromising security.
    • Validate random number generation: Cryptographically secure random number generation is essential for key generation and cryptographic operations. Ensure that proper random number generation techniques are employed.
    • Verify certificate validation: In the case of SSL/TLS, ensure that the application correctly validates server certificates, checking for proper certificate chain validation and revocation checks.

    Exploiting Broken Cryptography:

    Once vulnerabilities related to broken cryptography are identified, attackers can potentially exploit them to gain unauthorized access or manipulate sensitive data. Here are a few examples of possible exploits:

    • Brute force attacks: Weak key generation or short key lengths can make encryption algorithms susceptible to brute force attacks. Attackers can systematically try all possible keys until the correct one is found.
    • Man-in-the-middle attacks: If an application fails to validate server certificates properly, attackers can intercept communication between the client and the server, decrypting and modifying data.
    • Cryptanalysis: Weak algorithm choices or flawed implementations may allow attackers to analyze the cryptographic system and uncover weaknesses, such as finding collisions or exploiting vulnerabilities in encryption algorithms.

    Practical Example: Mobile Application Penetration Testing

    Let’s consider a hypothetical scenario where we are performing a penetration test on a mobile banking application. Our objective is to identify and exploit any broken cryptography vulnerabilities.

    • Analyze encryption protocols: Determine the protocols that are utilised when the mobile app and the backend servers are in communication. Determine whether secure cypher suites are being used and whether SSL/TLS is being deployed effectively.
    • Test for weak key management: Investigate how encryption keys are generated and stored on the device. Look for hardcoded or weakly protected keys that could be compromised.
    • Analyze data storage: Examine how sensitive data, such as user credentials or transaction details, is stored locally on the device. Check for encryption and proper key management in the storage mechanisms.
    • Evaluate secure data transmission: Assess if sensitive data is transmitted securely over the network. Look for potential weaknesses in encryption algorithms, modes, or certificate validation.
    • Test for weak session management: Analyze how session tokens or authentication tokens are generated and managed. Check if they are properly encrypted and protected against tampering or session fixation attacks.
    • Assess cryptographic libraries: Identify any outdated or deprecated cryptographic libraries used in the application. Determine if they are known to have vulnerabilities and recommend updating to more secure versions.


    Broken cryptography poses a significant risk to the security of applications, allowing attackers to compromise sensitive data and undermine the trust of users. By understanding how to test for broken cryptography and exploit its vulnerabilities, developers and security professionals can proactively identify weaknesses and apply the necessary countermeasures to ensure robust cryptographic implementations. Mobile application penetration testing serves as a practical example of uncovering and mitigating such vulnerabilities, ultimately strengthening the security posture of the application.


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