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Poly1305 is a cryptographic message authentication code (MAC) created by Daniel J. Bernstein. It can be used to verify the data integrity and the authenticity of a message. It has been standardized in RFC 7539.
The original proposal, Poly1305-AES, which uses AES block cipher to expand key, computes a 128-bit (16 bytes) authenticator of a variable-length message, using a 128-bit AES key, a 128 bit key (with 106 effective key bits), r, and a 128-bit nonce. The message is broken into 16-byte chunks which become coefficients of a polynomial in r, evaluated modulo the prime number 2130−5. The name is derived from this and the use of 2130−5 and the Advanced Encryption Standard. In NaCl Poly1305 is used with Salsa20 instead of AES, in TLS and SSH it is used with ChaCha20 keystream.
Google has selected Poly1305 along with Bernstein's ChaCha20 symmetric cipher as a replacement for RC4 in TLS/SSL, which is used for Internet security. Google's initial implementation is used in securing https (TLS/SSL) traffic between the Chrome browser on Android phones and Google's websites. Use of ChaCha20/Poly1305 has been standardized in RFC 7905.
Shortly after Google's adoption for use in TLS, both ChaCha20 and Poly1305 support was added to OpenSSH via the [email protected] authenticated encryption cipher. Subsequently, this made it possible for OpenSSH to remove its dependency on OpenSSL through a compile-time option.
The security of Poly1305-AES is very close to the underlying AES block cipher algorithm. Consequently, the only way for an attacker to break Poly1305-AES is to break AES.
Poly1305-AES can be computed at high speed in various CPUs: for an n-byte message, no more than 3.1n+780 Athlon cycles are needed, for example. The author has released optimized source code for Athlon, Pentium Pro/II/III/M, PowerPC, and UltraSPARC, in addition to non-optimized reference implementations in C and C++ as public domain software.