[openssl-users] How to provide KDF to ECDH key computation when using EVP API?

Reinier Torenbeek reinier.torenbeek at gmail.com
Sun Jun 28 02:55:59 UTC 2015

Hi again,

After digging into the ECDH code a bit more, I (sort of) found an answer
to my question.

My reason to look at using the KDF is to apply a hash to the shared
secret to compute a useable key within the derive function. There is a
control value called EVP_PKEY_CTRL_MD which seems like it could be used
for this purpose. However, for EC keys it looks like this control value
only has a meaning for the signing functionality, not for the key
derivation functionality. This looks like an omission to me. A small
test showed that it would not be too hard to have the hash applied when
doing key derivation as well.

If the approach sketched above is not right or possible, then exposing
the KDF function to the user of the EVP API seems a logical alternative.
However, the KDF function prototype is rather limited, with only an in
and out and no context at all. The latter would be required to make it

Since this functionality looks like it is a kind of half-finished to me,
can anybody give some insight in its status or confirm/correct my


On 6/19/15 4:23 PM, Reinier Torenbeek wrote:
> Hi,
> My goal is to implement ECDH in my own engine. The snippet below shows
> the struct that needs to be filled and set as the engine's ECDH method:
> struct ecdh_method {
>     const char *name;
>     int (*compute_key) (void *key, size_t outlen, const EC_POINT *pub_key,
>                         EC_KEY *ecdh, void *(*KDF) (const void *in,
>                                                     size_t inlen, void *out,
>                                                     size_t *outlen));
> # if 0
>     int (*init) (EC_KEY *eckey);
>     int (*finish) (EC_KEY *eckey);
> # endif
>     int flags;
>     char *app_data;
> };
> I intend to leverage the KDF mechanism, but it does not seem to be
> exposed in the EVP API. Is that possible at all? If yes, how do I do
> that? If no, what is the purpose of the KDF() parameter in compute_key?
> (By the way, struct ecdh_method is in crypto/ecdh/ech_locl.h, which
> seems to be a private header file. Am I supposed/allowed to include it
> anyway?)
> Thanks in advance,
> Reinier

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