# ARC4

Published: Thu 10 May 2012

Category: Cryptography

Tags: Python code cryptography stream cipher ARC4

**NOTE**: I originally posted this on Snipplr.

This is a pure Python implementation of ARC4 as a generator to highlight its nature as a stream cipher. Several improvements can be made, for instance, it could take a nonce, use multiple state spaces (parallelizable), automatically discard the first 4K of the state space(s), use a more complex transformation than a simple swap, limit the # of bytes encrypted per nonce, etc.. The size of the state space is a parameter. The size of the key must not exceed the size of the state space, as additional key data will not be mixed into the prepared state.o

```
#!/usr/bin/env python3
def prepare_state(key, state_size=256):
key_size = len(key)
state = [i for i in range(state_size)]
j = 0
for i in range(state_size):
j = (j + state[i] + key[i % key_size]) % state_size
state[i] ^= state[j]
state[j] ^= state[i]
state[i] ^= state[j]
return state
def pseudorandom_generator(state):
size = len(state)
i = 0
j = 0
while True:
i = (i + 1) % size
j = (j + state[i]) % size
state[i] ^= state[j]
state[j] ^= state[i]
state[i] ^= state[j]
yield state[(state[i] + state[j]) % size]
def ARC4(key, text):
state = prepare_state(key)
keystream = pseudorandom_generator(state)
for key_byte, text_byte in zip(keystream, text):
yield key_byte ^ text_byte
# Test Vectors for ARC4
# ---------------------
#
# key: b'Key'
# plaintext: b'Plaintext'
# ciphertext: b'\xbb\xf3\x16\xe8\xd9@\xaf\n\xd3'
#
# key: b'Wiki'
# plaintext: b'pedia'
# ciphertext: b'\x10!\xbf\x04 '
#
# key: b'Secret'
# plaintext: b'Attack at dawn'
# ciphertext: b'E\xa0\x1fd_\xc3[85RTK\x9b\xf5'
# Example usage
if (__name__ == "__main__"):
from pprint import pprint as pp
encryption = ARC4(b'Key', b'Plaintext')
ciphertext = bytes([next(encryption) for i in range(len(b'Plaintext'))])
pp(ciphertext)
decryption = ARC4(b'Key', ciphertext)
plaintext = bytes([next(decryption) for i in range(len(ciphertext))])
pp(plaintext)
```