DEV Community

loading...
Cover image for Implementing End to End Encryption in your Cross Platform App

Implementing End to End Encryption in your Cross Platform App

Tapajyoti Bose
Freelancer || Blogger || Cross-Platform App Developer || Web Developer || Open Source Contributor
Updated on ・5 min read

This is a two part tutorial series for implementing End to End Encryption. The first part will be focusing solely on creating a server for generating shared key between two users.

What is End to End Encryption?

End to End encryption is a system of communication where only the communicating users can read the messages, thus preventing third-parties from accessing data while it's transferred from one end system or device to another. In E2EE, the data is encrypted on the sender's system or device and only the recipient is able to decrypt it.

Why use End to End Encryption?

End to end encryption brings a huge advantages: your data is protected against hacking or theft: even if a someone succeeds in intercepting your message while its being transfered, they will not be decipher the data from the message. Thus your app will be more secure from prying attackers.

Getting Started

In this tutorial, we will be using Diffie Hellman algorithm to generate the shared key.

From the document on Diffie Hellman Groups for Internet Key Exchange we get the primes and the generators for each group.

primes = {
    # 1536-bit
    5: {
        "prime": int(
            "FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFC90FDAA22168C234C4C6628B80DC1CD1"
            + "29024E088A67CC74020BBEA63B139B22514A08798E3404DD"
            + "EF9519B3CD3A431B302B0A6DF25F14374FE1356D6D51C245"
            + "E485B576625E7EC6F44C42E9A637ED6B0BFF5CB6F406B7ED"
            + "EE386BFB5A899FA5AE9F24117C4B1FE649286651ECE45B3D"
            + "C2007CB8A163BF0598DA48361C55D39A69163FA8FD24CF5F"
            + "83655D23DCA3AD961C62F356208552BB9ED529077096966D"
            + "670C354E4ABC9804F1746C08CA237327FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF",
            base=16,
        ),
        "generator": 2,
    },
    # 2048-bit
    14: {
        "prime": int(
            "FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFC90FDAA22168C234C4C6628B80DC1CD1"
            + "29024E088A67CC74020BBEA63B139B22514A08798E3404DD"
            + "EF9519B3CD3A431B302B0A6DF25F14374FE1356D6D51C245"
            + "E485B576625E7EC6F44C42E9A637ED6B0BFF5CB6F406B7ED"
            + "EE386BFB5A899FA5AE9F24117C4B1FE649286651ECE45B3D"
            + "C2007CB8A163BF0598DA48361C55D39A69163FA8FD24CF5F"
            + "83655D23DCA3AD961C62F356208552BB9ED529077096966D"
            + "670C354E4ABC9804F1746C08CA18217C32905E462E36CE3B"
            + "E39E772C180E86039B2783A2EC07A28FB5C55DF06F4C52C9"
            + "DE2BCBF6955817183995497CEA956AE515D2261898FA0510"
            + "15728E5A8AACAA68FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF",
            base=16,
        ),
        "generator": 2,
    },
    # 3072-bit
    15: {
        "prime": int(
            "FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFC90FDAA22168C234C4C6628B80DC1CD1"
            + "29024E088A67CC74020BBEA63B139B22514A08798E3404DD"
            + "EF9519B3CD3A431B302B0A6DF25F14374FE1356D6D51C245"
            + "E485B576625E7EC6F44C42E9A637ED6B0BFF5CB6F406B7ED"
            + "EE386BFB5A899FA5AE9F24117C4B1FE649286651ECE45B3D"
            + "C2007CB8A163BF0598DA48361C55D39A69163FA8FD24CF5F"
            + "83655D23DCA3AD961C62F356208552BB9ED529077096966D"
            + "670C354E4ABC9804F1746C08CA18217C32905E462E36CE3B"
            + "E39E772C180E86039B2783A2EC07A28FB5C55DF06F4C52C9"
            + "DE2BCBF6955817183995497CEA956AE515D2261898FA0510"
            + "15728E5A8AAAC42DAD33170D04507A33A85521ABDF1CBA64"
            + "ECFB850458DBEF0A8AEA71575D060C7DB3970F85A6E1E4C7"
            + "ABF5AE8CDB0933D71E8C94E04A25619DCEE3D2261AD2EE6B"
            + "F12FFA06D98A0864D87602733EC86A64521F2B18177B200C"
            + "BBE117577A615D6C770988C0BAD946E208E24FA074E5AB31"
            + "43DB5BFCE0FD108E4B82D120A93AD2CAFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF",
            base=16,
        ),
        "generator": 2,
    },
    # 4096-bit
    16: {
        "prime": int(
            "FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFC90FDAA22168C234C4C6628B80DC1CD1"
            + "29024E088A67CC74020BBEA63B139B22514A08798E3404DD"
            + "EF9519B3CD3A431B302B0A6DF25F14374FE1356D6D51C245"
            + "E485B576625E7EC6F44C42E9A637ED6B0BFF5CB6F406B7ED"
            + "EE386BFB5A899FA5AE9F24117C4B1FE649286651ECE45B3D"
            + "C2007CB8A163BF0598DA48361C55D39A69163FA8FD24CF5F"
            + "83655D23DCA3AD961C62F356208552BB9ED529077096966D"
            + "670C354E4ABC9804F1746C08CA18217C32905E462E36CE3B"
            + "E39E772C180E86039B2783A2EC07A28FB5C55DF06F4C52C9"
            + "DE2BCBF6955817183995497CEA956AE515D2261898FA0510"
            + "15728E5A8AAAC42DAD33170D04507A33A85521ABDF1CBA64"
            + "ECFB850458DBEF0A8AEA71575D060C7DB3970F85A6E1E4C7"
            + "ABF5AE8CDB0933D71E8C94E04A25619DCEE3D2261AD2EE6B"
            + "F12FFA06D98A0864D87602733EC86A64521F2B18177B200C"
            + "BBE117577A615D6C770988C0BAD946E208E24FA074E5AB31"
            + "43DB5BFCE0FD108E4B82D120A92108011A723C12A787E6D7"
            + "88719A10BDBA5B2699C327186AF4E23C1A946834B6150BDA"
            + "2583E9CA2AD44CE8DBBBC2DB04DE8EF92E8EFC141FBECAA6"
            + "287C59474E6BC05D99B2964FA090C3A2233BA186515BE7ED"
            + "1F612970CEE2D7AFB81BDD762170481CD0069127D5B05AA9"
            + "93B4EA988D8FDDC186FFB7DC90A6C08F4DF435C934063199"
            + "FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF",
            base=16,
        ),
        "generator": 2,
    },
    # 6144-bit
    17: {
        "prime": int(
            "FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFC90FDAA22168C234C4C6628B80DC1CD129024E08"
            + "8A67CC74020BBEA63B139B22514A08798E3404DDEF9519B3CD3A431B"
            + "302B0A6DF25F14374FE1356D6D51C245E485B576625E7EC6F44C42E9"
            + "A637ED6B0BFF5CB6F406B7EDEE386BFB5A899FA5AE9F24117C4B1FE6"
            + "49286651ECE45B3DC2007CB8A163BF0598DA48361C55D39A69163FA8"
            + "FD24CF5F83655D23DCA3AD961C62F356208552BB9ED529077096966D"
            + "670C354E4ABC9804F1746C08CA18217C32905E462E36CE3BE39E772C"
            + "180E86039B2783A2EC07A28FB5C55DF06F4C52C9DE2BCBF695581718"
            + "3995497CEA956AE515D2261898FA051015728E5A8AAAC42DAD33170D"
            + "04507A33A85521ABDF1CBA64ECFB850458DBEF0A8AEA71575D060C7D"
            + "B3970F85A6E1E4C7ABF5AE8CDB0933D71E8C94E04A25619DCEE3D226"
            + "1AD2EE6BF12FFA06D98A0864D87602733EC86A64521F2B18177B200C"
            + "BBE117577A615D6C770988C0BAD946E208E24FA074E5AB3143DB5BFC"
            + "E0FD108E4B82D120A92108011A723C12A787E6D788719A10BDBA5B26"
            + "99C327186AF4E23C1A946834B6150BDA2583E9CA2AD44CE8DBBBC2DB"
            + "04DE8EF92E8EFC141FBECAA6287C59474E6BC05D99B2964FA090C3A2"
            + "233BA186515BE7ED1F612970CEE2D7AFB81BDD762170481CD0069127"
            + "D5B05AA993B4EA988D8FDDC186FFB7DC90A6C08F4DF435C934028492"
            + "36C3FAB4D27C7026C1D4DCB2602646DEC9751E763DBA37BDF8FF9406"
            + "AD9E530EE5DB382F413001AEB06A53ED9027D831179727B0865A8918"
            + "DA3EDBEBCF9B14ED44CE6CBACED4BB1BDB7F1447E6CC254B33205151"
            + "2BD7AF426FB8F401378CD2BF5983CA01C64B92ECF032EA15D1721D03"
            + "F482D7CE6E74FEF6D55E702F46980C82B5A84031900B1C9E59E7C97F"
            + "BEC7E8F323A97A7E36CC88BE0F1D45B7FF585AC54BD407B22B4154AA"
            + "CC8F6D7EBF48E1D814CC5ED20F8037E0A79715EEF29BE32806A1D58B"
            + "B7C5DA76F550AA3D8A1FBFF0EB19CCB1A313D55CDA56C9EC2EF29632"
            + "387FE8D76E3C0468043E8F663F4860EE12BF2D5B0B7474D6E694F91E"
            + "6DCC4024FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF",
            base=16,
        ),
        "generator": 2,
    },
    # 8192-bit
    18: {
        "prime": int(
            "FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFC90FDAA22168C234C4C6628B80DC1CD1"
            + "29024E088A67CC74020BBEA63B139B22514A08798E3404DD"
            + "EF9519B3CD3A431B302B0A6DF25F14374FE1356D6D51C245"
            + "E485B576625E7EC6F44C42E9A637ED6B0BFF5CB6F406B7ED"
            + "EE386BFB5A899FA5AE9F24117C4B1FE649286651ECE45B3D"
            + "C2007CB8A163BF0598DA48361C55D39A69163FA8FD24CF5F"
            + "83655D23DCA3AD961C62F356208552BB9ED529077096966D"
            + "670C354E4ABC9804F1746C08CA18217C32905E462E36CE3B"
            + "E39E772C180E86039B2783A2EC07A28FB5C55DF06F4C52C9"
            + "DE2BCBF6955817183995497CEA956AE515D2261898FA0510"
            + "15728E5A8AAAC42DAD33170D04507A33A85521ABDF1CBA64"
            + "ECFB850458DBEF0A8AEA71575D060C7DB3970F85A6E1E4C7"
            + "ABF5AE8CDB0933D71E8C94E04A25619DCEE3D2261AD2EE6B"
            + "F12FFA06D98A0864D87602733EC86A64521F2B18177B200C"
            + "BBE117577A615D6C770988C0BAD946E208E24FA074E5AB31"
            + "43DB5BFCE0FD108E4B82D120A92108011A723C12A787E6D7"
            + "88719A10BDBA5B2699C327186AF4E23C1A946834B6150BDA"
            + "2583E9CA2AD44CE8DBBBC2DB04DE8EF92E8EFC141FBECAA6"
            + "287C59474E6BC05D99B2964FA090C3A2233BA186515BE7ED"
            + "1F612970CEE2D7AFB81BDD762170481CD0069127D5B05AA9"
            + "93B4EA988D8FDDC186FFB7DC90A6C08F4DF435C934028492"
            + "36C3FAB4D27C7026C1D4DCB2602646DEC9751E763DBA37BD"
            + "F8FF9406AD9E530EE5DB382F413001AEB06A53ED9027D831"
            + "179727B0865A8918DA3EDBEBCF9B14ED44CE6CBACED4BB1B"
            + "DB7F1447E6CC254B332051512BD7AF426FB8F401378CD2BF"
            + "5983CA01C64B92ECF032EA15D1721D03F482D7CE6E74FEF6"
            + "D55E702F46980C82B5A84031900B1C9E59E7C97FBEC7E8F3"
            + "23A97A7E36CC88BE0F1D45B7FF585AC54BD407B22B4154AA"
            + "CC8F6D7EBF48E1D814CC5ED20F8037E0A79715EEF29BE328"
            + "06A1D58BB7C5DA76F550AA3D8A1FBFF0EB19CCB1A313D55C"
            + "DA56C9EC2EF29632387FE8D76E3C0468043E8F663F4860EE"
            + "12BF2D5B0B7474D6E694F91E6DBE115974A3926F12FEE5E4"
            + "38777CB6A932DF8CD8BEC4D073B931BA3BC832B68D9DD300"
            + "741FA7BF8AFC47ED2576F6936BA424663AAB639C5AE4F568"
            + "3423B4742BF1C978238F16CBE39D652DE3FDB8BEFC848AD9"
            + "22222E04A4037C0713EB57A81A23F0C73473FC646CEA306B"
            + "4BCBC8862F8385DDFA9D4B7FA2C087E879683303ED5BDD3A"
            + "062B3CF5B3A278A66D2A13F83F44F82DDF310EE074AB6A36"
            + "4597E899A0255DC164F31CC50846851DF9AB48195DED7EA1"
            + "B1D510BD7EE74D73FAF36BC31ECFA268359046F4EB879F92"
            + "4009438B481C6CD7889A002ED5EE382BC9190DA6FC026E47"
            + "9558E4475677E9AA9E3050E2765694DFC81F56E880B96E71"
            + "60C980DD98EDD3DFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF",
            base=16,
        ),
        "generator": 2,
    },
}
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Implementing Diffie Hellman

We would be needing the following methods:

  • hexify (to convert bytes to hexadecimal)
  • sha256 (to generate the hash)
  • urandom (to generate random data for cryptographic use)
from binascii import hexlify
from hashlib import sha256
from os import urandom
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Now we implement Diffie Hellman class. We will not be diving deep into how the algorithm works. To learn about that refer to this document

class DiffieHellman:
    # Current minimum recommendation is 2048 bit (group 14)
    def __init__(self, group: int = 14) -> None:
        if group not in primes:
            raise ValueError("Unsupported Group")
        self.prime = primes[group]["prime"]
        self.generator = primes[group]["generator"]

        self.__private_key = int(hexlify(urandom(32)), base=16)

    def get_private_key(self) -> str:
        return hex(self.__private_key)[2:]

    def generate_public_key(self) -> str:
        public_key = pow(self.generator, self.__private_key, self.prime)
        return hex(public_key)[2:]

    def is_valid_public_key(self, key: int) -> bool:
        # check if the other public key is valid based on NIST SP800-56
        if 2 <= key and key <= self.prime - 2:
            if pow(key, (self.prime - 1) // 2, self.prime) == 1:
                return True
        return False

    def generate_shared_key(self, other_key_str: str) -> str:
        other_key = int(other_key_str, base=16)
        if not self.is_valid_public_key(other_key):
            raise ValueError("Invalid public key")
        shared_key = pow(other_key, self.__private_key, self.prime)
        return sha256(str(shared_key).encode()).hexdigest()
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Its possible that we send the keys over the network and don't have a Diffie Hellman object to call the method on. So let's add static methods to enable us to generate the shared key.

@staticmethod
def is_valid_public_key_static(
    local_private_key_str: str, remote_public_key_str: str, prime: int
) -> bool:
    # check if the other public key is valid based on NIST SP800-56
    if 2 <= remote_public_key_str and remote_public_key_str <= prime - 2:
        if pow(remote_public_key_str, (prime - 1) // 2, prime) == 1:
            return True
    return False

@staticmethod
def generate_shared_key_static(
    local_private_key_str: str, remote_public_key_str: str, group: int = 14
) -> str:
    local_private_key = int(local_private_key_str, base=16)
    remote_public_key = int(remote_public_key_str, base=16)
    prime = primes[group]["prime"]
    if not DiffieHellman.is_valid_public_key_static(
        local_private_key, remote_public_key, prime
    ):
        raise ValueError("Invalid public key")
    shared_key = pow(remote_public_key, local_private_key, prime)
    return sha256(str(shared_key).encode()).hexdigest()
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

It always a good practice to test out your code. We can test it out using the following snippet

>>> alice = DiffieHellman()
>>> bob = DiffieHellman()

>>> alice_private = alice.get_private_key()
>>> alice_public = alice.generate_public_key()

>>> bob_private = bob.get_private_key()
>>> bob_public = bob.generate_public_key()

>>> # generating shared key using the DH object
>>> alice_shared = alice.generate_shared_key(bob_public)
>>> bob_shared = bob.generate_shared_key(alice_public)
>>> assert alice_shared == bob_shared

>>> # generating shared key using static methods
>>> alice_shared = DiffieHellman.generate_shared_key_static(
...     alice_private, bob_public
... )
>>> bob_shared = DiffieHellman.generate_shared_key_static(
...     bob_private, alice_public
... )
>>> assert alice_shared == bob_shared
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Server Creation

Now that we are finished with the Diffie Hellman class let's setup the server.

Why an additional server?

This question might pop into your head, and its quite a resonable question as well. Well, in case of Cross Platform Apps written in more than 1 language, to ensure homogenous key generation algorithm, we delegate the task to a server. If you are using 1 programming language, then you can optimize the computation by using the key generation locally as using the server would only degrade performance.

We would be using Flask to create the server and also enable Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS).

requirements.txt

flask
flask-cors
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Install the required packages using pip install. Now let's create the server.

app.py

from flask import Flask, jsonify, request
from flask_cors import CORS

from dh import DiffieHellman

app = Flask(__name__)
cors = CORS(app)


@app.route("/generate-keys", methods=["GET"])
def generate_keys():
    dh = DiffieHellman()
    private_key, public_key = dh.get_private_key(), dh.gen_public_key()
    return jsonify({"private_key": private_key, "public_key": public_key,})


@app.route("/generate-shared-key", methods=["GET"])
def generate_shared_key():
    try:
        local_private_key = request.args.get("local_private_key")
        remote_public_key = request.args.get("remote_public_key")
        shared_key = DiffieHellman.gen_shared_key_static(
            local_private_key, remote_public_key
        )
    except:
        return jsonify({"message": "Invalid public key"}), 400
    return jsonify({"shared_key": shared_key})


if __name__ == "__main__":
    app.run()
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Summary

The complete code looks like

To learn how to use the shared key to encrypt and decrypt messages, check out the second part

Project using this Implemention

Smartsapp

Web-app: https://smartsapp-ba40f.firebaseapp.com

GitHub logo ruppysuppy / SmartsApp

💬📱 An End to End Encrypted Cross Platform messenger app.

Smartsapp

A fully cross-platform messenger app with End to End Encryption (E2EE).

Demo

NOTE: The features shown in the demo is not exhaustive. Only the core features are showcased in the demo.

Platforms Supported

  1. Desktop: Windows, Linux, MacOS
  2. Mobile: Android, iOS
  3. Website: Any device with a browser

Back-end Setup

The back-end of the app is handled by Firebase.

Basic Setup

  1. Go to firebase console and create a new project with the name Smartsapp
  2. Enable Google Analylitics

App Setup

  1. Create an App for the project from the overview page
  2. Copy and paste the configurations in the required location (given in the readme of the respective apps)

Auth Setup

  1. Go to the project Authentication section
  2. Select Sign-in method tab
  3. Enable Email/Password and Google sign in

Firestore Setup

  1. Go to the project Firestore section
  2. Create firestore provisions for the project (choose the server nearest to your location)
  3. Go to the Rules

Thanks for reading

Reach out to me on:

Discussion (0)