PKCS#1 v1.5 encryption (RSA)


Use PKCS#1 OAEP (RSA) instead. This module is provided only for legacy purposes.

See RFC8017 or the original RSA Labs specification .

This scheme is more properly called RSAES-PKCS1-v1_5.

As an example, a sender may encrypt a message in this way:

>>> from Crypto.Cipher import PKCS1_v1_5
>>> from Crypto.PublicKey import RSA
>>> from Crypto.Hash import SHA
>>> message = b'To be encrypted'
>>> h =
>>> key = RSA.importKey(open('pubkey.der').read())
>>> cipher =
>>> ciphertext = cipher.encrypt(message+h.digest())

At the receiver side, decryption can be done using the private part of the RSA key:

>>> From Crypto.Hash import SHA
>>> from Crypto import Random
>>> key = RSA.importKey(open('privkey.der').read())
>>> dsize = SHA.digest_size
>>> sentinel =      # Let's assume that average data length is 15
>>> cipher =
>>> message = cipher.decrypt(ciphertext, sentinel)
>>> digest =[:-dsize]).digest()
>>> if digest==message[-dsize:]:                # Note how we DO NOT look for the sentinel
>>>     print "Encryption was correct."
>>> else:
>>>     print "Encryption was not correct.", randfunc=None)

Create a cipher for performing PKCS#1 v1.5 encryption or decryption.

  • key (RSA key object) – The key to use to encrypt or decrypt the message. This is a Crypto.PublicKey.RSA object. Decryption is only possible if key is a private RSA key.
  • randfunc (callable) – Function that return random bytes. The default is Crypto.Random.get_random_bytes().

A cipher object PKCS115_Cipher.

class Crypto.Cipher.PKCS1_v1_5.PKCS115_Cipher(key, randfunc)

This cipher can perform PKCS#1 v1.5 RSA encryption or decryption. Do not instantiate directly. Use instead.


Return True if this cipher object can be used for decryption.


Return True if this cipher object can be used for encryption.

decrypt(ciphertext, sentinel)

Decrypt a PKCS#1 v1.5 ciphertext.

This function is named RSAES-PKCS1-V1_5-DECRYPT, and is specified in section 7.2.2 of RFC8017.

  • ciphertext (bytes/bytearray/memoryview) – The ciphertext that contains the message to recover.
  • sentinel (any type) – The object to return whenever an error is detected.

A byte string. It is either the original message or the sentinel (in case of an error).

Raises ValueError:

If the ciphertext length is incorrect

Raises TypeError:

If the RSA key has no private half (i.e. it cannot be used for decyption).


You should never let the party who submitted the ciphertext know that this function returned the sentinel value. Armed with such knowledge (for a fair amount of carefully crafted but invalid ciphertexts), an attacker is able to recontruct the plaintext of any other encryption that were carried out with the same RSA public key (see Bleichenbacher’s attack).

In general, it should not be possible for the other party to distinguish whether processing at the server side failed because the value returned was a sentinel as opposed to a random, invalid message.

In fact, the second option is not that unlikely: encryption done according to PKCS#1 v1.5 embeds no good integrity check. There is roughly one chance in 216 for a random ciphertext to be returned as a valid message (although random looking).

It is therefore advisabled to:

  1. Select as sentinel a value that resembles a plausable random, invalid message.
  2. Not report back an error as soon as you detect a sentinel value. Put differently, you should not explicitly check if the returned value is the sentinel or not.
  3. Cover all possible errors with a single, generic error indicator.
  4. Embed into the definition of message (at the protocol level) a digest (e.g. SHA-1). It is recommended for it to be the rightmost part message.
  5. Where possible, monitor the number of errors due to ciphertexts originating from the same party, and slow down the rate of the requests from such party (or even blacklist it altogether).

If you are designing a new protocol, consider using the more robust PKCS#1 OAEP.


Produce the PKCS#1 v1.5 encryption of a message.

This function is named RSAES-PKCS1-V1_5-ENCRYPT, and it is specified in section 7.2.1 of RFC8017.

Parameters:message (bytes/bytearray/memoryview) – The message to encrypt, also known as plaintext. It can be of variable length, but not longer than the RSA modulus (in bytes) minus 11.
Returns:A byte string, the ciphertext in which the message is encrypted. It is as long as the RSA modulus (in bytes).
Raises ValueError:
 If the RSA key length is not sufficiently long to deal with the given message.