Tink performs cryptographic tasks via so-called *primitives*, which provide an abstract representation of the provided functionality. Tink primitives encompass the following cryptographic operations and are supported via the corresponding interfaces:

Primitive | Interfaces |
---|---|

Authenticated Encryption with Associated Data (AEAD) | AEAD |

Streaming AEAD | StreamingAEAD |

Deterministic AEAD | DeterministicAEAD |

Message Authentication Code (MAC) | MAC |

Pseudo Random Function Family (PRF) | Prf, PrfSet |

Hybrid encryption | HybridEncrypt, HybridDecrypt |

Digital signatures | PublicKeySign, PublicKeyVerify |

The interface names above correspond with the Java implementation. Other language implementations may have modified interface names due to differing naming conventions.

The tables in the section below summarize the current implementations of primitives available in the corresponding languages, and the subsequent sections describe the main properties of Tink primitives.

Primitive | Java | C++ | ObjC | Go | Python |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

AEAD | yes | yes | yes | yes | yes |

Streaming AEAD | yes | yes | no | yes | yes |

Deterministic AEAD | yes | yes | yes | yes | yes |

MAC | yes | yes | yes | yes | yes |

PRF | yes | yes | no | yes | yes |

Digital signatures | yes | yes | yes | yes | yes |

Hybrid encryption | yes | yes | yes | yes | yes |

JavaScript is currently under development.

Primitive | Java Implementations |
---|---|

AEAD | AES-GCM, AES-GCM-SIV, AES-CTR-HMAC, AES-EAX, KMS Envelope, CHACHA20-POLY1305, XCHACHA-POLY1305 |

Streaming AEAD | AES-GCM-HKDF-STREAMING, AES-CTR-HMAC-STREAMING |

Deterministic AEAD | AES-SIV |

MAC | HMAC-SHA2, AES-CMAC |

PRF | HKDF-SHA2, HMAC-SHA2, AES-CMAC |

Digital Signatures | ECDSA over NIST curves, Ed25519, RSA-SSA-PKCS1, RSA-SSA-PSS |

Hybrid Encryption | ECIES with AEAD/DeterministicAEAD and HKDF |

Primitive | C++ Implementations |
---|---|

AEAD | AES-GCM, AES-GCM-SIV, AES-CTR-HMAC, AES-EAX, KMS Envelope, XCHACHA20-POLY1305 |

Streaming AEAD | AES-GCM-HKDF-STREAMING, AES-CTR-HMAC-STREAMING |

Deterministic AEAD | AES-SIV |

MAC | HMAC-SHA2, AES-CMAC |

PRF | HKDF-SHA2, HMAC-SHA2, AES-CMAC |

Digital Signatures | ECDSA over NIST curves, Ed25519, RSA-SSA-PKCS1, RSA-SSA-PSS |

Hybrid Encryption | ECIES with AEAD/DeterministicAEAD and HKDF |

Primitive | Objective-C Implementations |
---|---|

AEAD | AES-GCM, AES-CTR-HMAC, AES-EAX, XCHACHA20-POLY1305 |

Deterministic AEAD | AES-SIV |

MAC | HMAC-SHA2, AES-CMAC |

Digital Signatures | ECDSA over NIST curves, Ed25519, RSA-SSA-PKCS1, RSA-SSA-PSS |

Hybrid Encryption | ECIES with AEAD and HKDF |

Primitive | Go Implementations |
---|---|

AEAD | AES-GCM, AES-CTR-HMAC, KMS Envelope, CHACHA20-POLY1305, XCHACHA-POLY1305 |

Streaming AEAD | AES-GCM-HKDF-STREAMING, AES-CTR-HMAC-STREAMING |

Deterministic AEAD | AES-SIV |

MAC | HMAC-SHA2, AES-CMAC |

PRF | HKDF-SHA2, HMAC-SHA2, AES-CMAC |

Digital Signatures | ECDSA over NIST curves, Ed25519 |

Hybrid Encryption | ECIES with AEAD/DeterministicAEAD and HKDF |

Primitive | Python Implementations |
---|---|

AEAD | AES-GCM, AES-CTR-HMAC, AES-EAX, KMS Envelope, XCHACHA20-POLY1305 |

Streaming AEAD | AES-GCM-HKDF-STREAMING, AES-CTR-HMAC-STREAMING |

Deterministic AEAD | AES-SIV |

MAC | HMAC-SHA2, AES-CMAC |

PRF | HKDF-SHA2, HMAC-SHA2, AES-CMAC |

Digital Signatures | ECDSA over NIST curves, Ed25519, RSA-SSA-PKCS1, RSA-SSA-PSS |

Hybrid Encryption | ECIES with AEAD/DeterministicAEAD and HKDF |

- stateless (hence thread-safe)
- copy-safe (for the parameters)
- at least 128-bit security (with an exception for RSA)

AEAD primitive (Authenticated Encryption with Associated Data) provides functionality of symmetric authenticated encryption. Implementations of this primitive are secure against adaptive chosen ciphertext attacks.

When encrypting a plaintext one can optionally provide *associated data* that should be authenticated but not encrypted. That is, the encryption with associated data ensures authenticity (ie. who the sender is) and integrity (ie. data has not been tampered with) of that data, but not its secrecy (see RFC 5116). This is often used for binding encryptions to a context. For example, in a banking database the contents of a row (e.g. bank account balance) can be encrypted using the customer‘s id as *associated data*. This would prevent swapping encrypted data between customers’ records.

Minimal properties:

*plaintext*and*associated data*can have arbitrary length (within the range 0..232 bytes)- CCA2 security
- at least 80-bit authentication strength
- there are no secrecy or knowledge guarantees wrt. to the value of
*associated data* - can encrypt at least 232 messages with a total of 250 bytes so that no attack has success probability larger than 2-32

Streaming AEAD primitive (Streaming Authenticated Encryption with Associated Data) provides authenticated encryption for streaming data, and is useful when the data to be encrypted is too large to be processed in a single step. Typical use cases include encryption of large files or encryption of live data streams.

The underlying encryption modes are selected so that partial plaintext can be obtained fast by decrypting and authenticating just a part of the ciphertext, without need of processing the entire ciphertext.

Encryption must be done in one session. There is no possibility to modify an existing ciphertext or to append to it (other than to reencrypt the entire file again).

Instances of *Streaming AEAD* follow the OAE2 definition proposed in the paper *“Online Authenticated-Encryption and its Nonce-Reuse Misuse-Resistance”* by Hoang, Reyhanitabar, Rogaway and Vizár.

Minimal properties:

*plaintext*can have arbitrary length within the range 0..238 and*associated data*can have arbitrary length within the range 0..231-1 bytes- CCA2 security
- at least 80-bit authentication strength
- there are no secrecy or knowledge guarantees wrt. to the value of
*associated data* - can encrypt at least 232 messages with a total of 268 bytes so that no attack with up to 232 chosen plaintexts/chosen ciphertexts has success probability larger than 2-32.

Deterministic AEAD primitive (Deterministic Authenticated Encryption with Associated Data, DAEAD) provides encryption with a *deterministic property*: encrypting the same data always yields the same ciphertext. Such encryption is useful e.g. for key wrapping or for some schemes for searching on encrypted data (see RFC 5297, Section 1.3 for more info). However, because of deterministic property, implementations of this primitive are **not semantically secure**.

As for (regular) AEAD, when using Deterministic AEAD to encrypt a plaintext one can optionally provide *associated data* that should be authenticated but not encrypted. That is, the encryption with associated data ensures authenticity (ie. who the sender is) and integrity (ie. data has not been tampered with) of that data, but not its secrecy (see RFC 5116).

Minimal properties:

*plaintext*and*associated data*can have arbitrary length (within the range 0..232 bytes)- 128-bit security level against multi-user attacks with up to 232 keys; that means if an adversary obtains 232 ciphertexts of the same message encrypted under 232 keys, they need to do 2128 computations to obtain a single key.
- at least 80-bit authentication strength
- there are no secrecy or knowledge guarantees wrt. to the value of
*associated data*

MAC primitive (Message Authentication Code) provides symmetric message authentication. A sender sharing a *symmetric key* with a recipient can compute an *authentication tag* for a given message, that allows for verifying that the message comes from the sender and that it has not been modified. Instances of MAC primitive are secure against existential forgery under chosen plaintext attack, and can be deterministic or randomized. This interface should be used for authentication only, and not for other purposes like generation of pseudorandom bytes.

Minimal properties:

- secure against existential forgery under CPA
- at least 128-bit security, also in multi-user scenarios (when an attacker is not targeting a specific key, but any key from a set of up to 232 keys)
- at least 80-bit authentication strength

The PRF set primitive allows to redact data in a deterministic fashion, for example personal identifiable information or internal IDs, or to come up with a user ID from user information without revealing said information in the ID. This allows someone with access to the output of the PRF without access to the key do some types of analysis, while limiting others.

Note that while in theory PRFs can be used in other ways, for example for encryption or message authentication, the corresponding primitives should only be used for these use cases.

WARNING: Since PRFs operate deterministically on their input, using a PRF to redact will not automatically provide anonymity, but only provide pseudonymity. It is an important tool to build privacy aware systems, but has to be used carefully.

Minimal properties:

- without knowledge of the key the PRF is indistinguishable from a random function
- at least 128-bit security, also in multi-user scenarios (when an attacker is not targeting a specific key, but any key from a set of up to 232 keys)
- at least 16 byte of output available

WARNING: While HMAC-SHA-2 and HKDF-SHA-2 behave like a cryptographically secure hash function if the key is revealed, and still provide some protection against revealing the input, AES-CMAC is only secure as long as the key is secure.

Since Tink operates on key sets, this primitive exposes a corresponding set of PRFs instead of a single PRF. The PRFs are indexed by a 32 bit key id. This can be used to rotate the key used to redact a piece of information, without losing the previous association.

Hybrid Encryption combines the efficiency of symmetric encryption with the convenience of public-key encryption: to encrypt a message a fresh symmetric key is generated and used to encrypt the actual plaintext data, while the recipient’s public key is used to encrypt the symmetric key only, and the final ciphertext consists of the symmetric ciphertext and the encrypted symmetric key.

**WARNING** Hybrid Encryption does not provide authenticity, that is the recipient of an encrypted message does not know the identity of the sender. Similar to general public-key encryption schemes the security goal of Hybrid Encryption is to provide privacy only. In other words, Hybrid Encryption is secure if and only if the recipient can accept anonymous messages or can rely on other mechanism to authenticate the sender.

The functionality of Hybrid Encryption is represented in Tink as a pair of primitives: HybridEncrypt for encryption of data, and HybridDecrypt for decryption. Implementations of these primitives are secure against adaptive chosen ciphertext attacks.

In addition to the plaintext encryption accepts an extra parameter *context info*, which usually is public data implicit from the context, but should be bound to the resulting ciphertext, i.e. the ciphertext allows for checking the integrity of *context info* but there are no guarantees wrt. to secrecy or authenticity of *context info*. The actual *context info* can be empty or null, but to ensure the correct decryption of the resulting ciphertext the same value must be provided for decryption operation.

A concrete implementation of hybrid encryption can implement the binding of *context info* to the ciphertext in various ways, for example:

- use context_info as “associated data”-input for the employed AEAD symmetric encryption (cf. RFC 5116).
- use context_info as “CtxInfo”-input for HKDF (if the implementation uses HKDF as key derivation function, cf. RFC 5869).

Furthermore, the DataEncapsulationMechanism can be achieved using either an Aead primitive or a Determinisitic Aead.

Minimal properties:

*plaintext*and*context info*can have arbitrary length (within the range 0..232 bytes)- secure against chosen ciphertext attacks
- 128-bit security for EC based schemes, 112-bit security for RSA based schemes (i.e. allow 2048 bit keys)

Digital Signatures provide functionality of signing data and verification of signatures. It ensures the authenticity and the integrity of the signed data, but not its secrecy.

The functionality of Digital Signatures is represented in Tink as a pair of primitives: PublicKeySign for signing of data, and PublicKeyVerify for verification of signatures. Implementations of these primitives are secure against adaptive chosen-message attacks.

Minimal properties:

- data to be signed can have arbitrary length
- 128-bit security for EC based schemes
- 112-bit security for RSA based schemes (i.e. allow 2048 bit keys)