SSLeay: a cryptographic kitchen sink.

1st December 1995
Way back at the start of April 1995, I was looking for a mindless
programming project.  A friend of mine (Tim Hudson) said "why don't you do SSL,
it has DES encryption in it and I would not mind using it in a SSL telnet".
While it was true I had written a DES library in previous years, litle
did I know what an expansive task SSL would turn into.

First of all, the SSL protocol contains DES encryption.  Well and good.  My
DES library was fast and portable.  It also contained the RSA's RC4 stream
cipher.  Again, not a problem, some-one had just posted to sci.crypt
something that was claimed to be RC4.  It also contained IDEA, I had the
specifications, not a problem to implement.  MD5, an RFC, trivial, at most
I could spend a week or so trying to see if I could speed up the
implementation.  All in all a nice set of ciphers.
Then the first 'expantion of the scope', RSA public key
encryption.  Since I did not knowing a thing about public key encryption
or number theory, this appeared quite a daunting task.  Just writing a
big number library would be problomatic in itself, let alone making it fast.
At this point the scope of 'implementing SSL' expands eponentialy.
First of all, the RSA private keys  were being kept in ASN.1 format.
Thankfully the RSA PKCS series of documents explains this format.  So I now
needed to be able to encode and decode arbitary ASN.1 objects.  The Public
keys were embeded in X509 certificates.  Hmm... these are not only
ASN.1 objects but they make up a heirachy of authentication.  To
authenticate a X509 certificate one needs to retrieve it's issuers
certificate etc etc.  Hmm..., so I also need to implement some kind
of certificate management software.  I would also have to implement
software to authenticate certificates.  At this point the support code made
the SSL part of my library look quite small.
Around this time, the first version of SSLeay was released.

Ah, but here was the problem, I was not happy with the code so far.  As may
have become obvious, I had been treating all of this as a learning
exersize, so I have completely written the library myself.  As such, due
to the way it had grown like a fungus, much of the library was not
'elagent' or neat.  There were global and static variables all over the
place, the SSL part did not even handle non-blocking IO.
The Great rewrite began.

As of this point in time, the 'Great rewrite' has almost finished.  So what
follows is an approximate list of what is actually SSLeay 0.5.0

/********* This needs to be updated for 0.6.0+ *************/

The library contains the following routines.  Please note that most of these
functions are not specfic for SSL or any other particular cipher
implementation.  I have tried to make all the routines as general purpose
as possible.  So you should not think of this library as an SSL
implemtation, but rather as a library of cryptographic functions
that also contains SSL.  I refer to each of these function groupings as
libraries since they are often capable of functioning as independant

First up, the general ciphers and message digests supported by the library.

MD2	rfc???, a standard 'by parts' interface to this algorithm.
MD5	rfc???, the same type of interface as for the MD2 library except a
	different algorithm.
SHA	THe Secure Hash Algorithm.  Again the same type of interface as
	MD2/MD5 except the digest is 20 bytes.
SHA1	The 'revised' version of SHA.  Just about identical to SHA except
	for one tweak of an inner loop.
DES	This is my libdes library that has been floating around for the last
	few years.  It has been enhanced for no other reason than completeness.
	It now supports ecb, cbc, cfb, ofb, cfb64, ofb64 in normal mode and
	triple DES modes of ecb, cbc, cfb64 and ofb64.  cfb64 and ofb64 are
	functional interfaces to the 64 bit modes of cfb and ofb used in
	such a way thay they function as single character interfaces.
RC4	The RSA Inc. stream cipher.
RC2	The RSA Inc. block cipher.
IDEA	An implmentation of the IDEA cipher, the library supports ecb, cbc,
	cfb64 and ofb64 modes of operation.

Now all the above mentioned ciphers and digests libraries support high
speed, minimal 'crap in the way' type interfaces.  For fastest and
lowest level access, these routines should be used directly.

Now there was also the matter of public key crypto systems.  These are
based on large integer arithmatic.

BN	This is my large integer library.  It supports all the normal
	arithmentic operations.  It uses malloc extensivly and as such has
	no limits of the size of the numbers being manipulated.  If you
	wish to use 4000 bit RSA moduli, these routines will handle it.
	This library also contains routines to 'generate' prime numbers and
	to test for primality.  The RSA and DH libraries sit on top of this
	library.  As of this point in time, I don't support SHA, but
	when I do add it, it will just sit on top of the routines contained
	in this library.
RSA	This implements the RSA public key algorithm.  It also contains
	routines that will generate a new private/public key pair.
	All the RSA functions conform to the PKCS#1 standard.
DH	This is an implementation of the
	Diffie-Hellman protocol.  There are all the require routines for
	the protocol, plus extra routines that can be used to generate a
	strong prime for use with a specified generator.  While this last
	routine is not generally required by applications implementing DH,
	It is present for completeness and because I thing it is much
	better to be able to 'generate' your own 'magic' numbers as oposed
	to using numbers suplied by others.  I conform to the PKCS#3
	standard where required.

You may have noticed the preceeding section mentions the 'generation' of
prime numbers.  Now this requries the use of 'random numbers'. 

RAND	This psuedo-random number library is based on MD5 at it's core
	and a large internal state (2k bytes).  Once you have entered enough
	seed data into this random number algorithm I don't feel
	you will ever need to worry about it generating predictable output.
	Due to the way I am writing a portable library, I have left the
	issue of how to get good initial random seed data upto the
	application but I do have support routines for saving and loading a
	persistant random number state for use between program runs.
Now to make all these ciphers easier to use, a higher level
interface was required.  In this form, the same function would be used to
encrypt 'by parts', via any one of the above mentioned ciphers.

EVP	The Digital EnVeloPe library is quite large.  At it's core are
	function to perform encryption and decryption by parts while using
	an initial parameter to specify which of the 17 different ciphers
	or 4 different message digests to use.  On top of these are implmented
	the digital signature functions, sign, verify, seal and open.
	Base64 encoding of binary data is also done in this library.

PEM	rfc???? describe the format for Privacy Enhanced eMail.
	As part of this standard, methods of encoding digital enveloped
	data is an ascii format are defined.  As such, I use a form of these
	to encode enveloped data.  While at this point in time full support
	for PEM has not been built into the library, a minimal subset of
	the secret key and Base64 encoding is present.  These reoutines are
	mostly used to Ascii encode binary data with a 'type' associated
	with it and perhaps details of private key encryption used to
	encrypt the data.
PKCS7	This is another Digital Envelope encoding standard which uses ASN.1
	to encode the data.  At this point in time, while there are some
	routines to encode and decode this binary format, full support is
	not present.
As Mentioned, above, there are several different ways to encode
data structures.

ASN1	This library is more a set of primatives used to encode the packing
	and unpacking of data structures.  It is used by the X509
	certificate standard and by the PKCS standards which are used by
	this library.  It also contains routines for duplicating and signing
	the structures asocisated with X509.
X509	The X509 library contains routines for packing and unpacking,
	verifying and just about every thing else you would want to do with
	X509 certificates.

PKCS7	PKCS-7 is a standard for encoding digital envelope data
	structures.  At this point in time the routines will load and save
	DER forms of these structees.  They need to be re-worked to suport
	the BER form which is the normal way PKCS-7 is encoded.  If the
	previous 2 sentances don't make much sense, don't worry, this
	library is not used by this version of SSLeay anyway.

OBJ	ASN.1 uses 'object identifiers' to identify objects.  A set of
	functions were requred to translate from ASN.1 to an intenger, to a
	character string.  This library provieds these translations
Now I mentioned an X509 library.  X509 specified a hieachy of certificates
which needs to be traversed to authenticate particular certificates.

METH	This library is used to push 'methods' of retrieving certificates
	into the library.  There are some supplied 'methods' with SSLeay
	but applications can add new methods if they so desire.
	This library has not been finished and is not being used in this
Now all the above are required for use in the initial point of this project.

SSL	The SSL protocol.  This is a full implmentation of SSL v 2.  It
	support both server and client authentication.  SSL v 3 support
	will be added when the SSL v 3 specification is released in it's
	final form.

Now quite a few of the above mentioned libraries rely on a few 'complex'
data structures.  For each of these I have a library.

Lhash	This is a hash table library which is used extensivly.

STACK	An implemetation of a Stack data structure.

BUF	A simple character array structure that also support a function to
	check that the array is greater that a certain size, if it is not,
	it is realloced so that is it.
TXT_DB	A simple memory based text file data base.  The application can specify
	unique indexes that will be enforced at update time.

CONF	Most of the programs written for this library require a configuration
	file.  Instead of letting programs constantly re-implment this
	subsystem, the CONF library provides a consistant and flexable
	interface to not only configuration files but also environment

But what about when something goes wrong?
The one advantage (and perhaps disadvantage) of all of these
functions being in one library was the ability to implement a
single error reporting system.
ERR	This library is used to report errors.  The error system records
	library number, function number (in the library) and reason
	number.  Multiple errors can be reported so that an 'error' trace
	is created.  The errors can be printed in numeric or textual form.