Botan: Crypto and TLS for C++11

Botan (Japanese for peony) is a cryptography library written in C++11 and released under the permissive Simplified BSD license.

It contains TLS client and server implementation, X.509 certificates, ECDSA, AES, GCM, ChaCha20Poly1305, McEliece, bcrypt and other useful tools.

As part of the build there is also a botan program built for command line usage (similar to openssl). The sources for these are intended to act as good examples of library usage.

Development is coordinated on GitHub and contributions are welcome. Read doc/contributing.rst for more about how to contribute.

For all the details on building the library, read the users manual, but basically:

$ ./ --help
$ ./ [probably some options]
$ make
$ ./botan-test
# lots of output...
Tests all ok
$ ./botan
# shows available commands
$ make install

The library can also be built into a single-file amalgamation for easy inclusion into external build systems.

If you need help or have questions, send a mail to the mailing list or open a ticket on GitHub Issues. If you think you’ve found a security bug, read the security page for contact information and procedures.

In addition to C++, botan has a C89 API specifically designed to be easy to call from other languages. A Python binding using ctypes is included, there are also partial bindings for Node.js and OCaml among others.

There is no support for the SSH protocol in Botan but there is a seperately developed C++11 SSH library by cdesjardins which uses Botan for crypto operations.


See the change notes and security page

All releases are signed with a PGP key:

pub   2048R/EFBADFBC 2004-10-30
      Key fingerprint = 621D AF64 11E1 851C 4CF9  A2E1 6211 EBF1 EFBA DFBC
uid                  Botan Distribution Key

Some distributions such as Arch, Fedora and Debian include packages for Botan. However these are often out of date; using the latest source release is recommended.

Current Development Work (1.11)

The 1.11 branch is highly recommended, especially for new projects. Versions 1.11 and later require a working C++11 compiler; GCC 4.8 and later, Clang 3.5 and later, and MSVC 2013/2015 are regularly tested.

The latest development release is 1.11.32 (sig) released on 2016-09-28

Old Stable Series (1.10)

The 1.10 branch is the last version of the library written in C++98 and is the most commonly packaged version. It is still supported for security patches, but all development efforts are focused on 1.11.

The latest 1.10 release is 1.10.13 (sig) released on 2016-04-23

Books and other resources

You should have some knowledge of cryptography before trying to use the library. This is an area where it is very easy to make mistakes, and where things are often subtle and/or counterintuitive. Obviously the library tries to provide things at a high level precisely to minimize the number of ways things can go wrong, but naive use will almost certainly not result in a secure system.

Especially recommended are:

  • Cryptography Engineering by Niels Ferguson, Bruce Schneier, and Tadayoshi Kohno
  • Security Engineering – A Guide to Building Dependable Distributed Systems by Ross Anderson (available online)
  • Handbook of Applied Cryptography by Alfred J. Menezes, Paul C. Van Oorschot, and Scott A. Vanstone (available online)

If you’re doing something non-trivial or unique, you might want to at the very least ask for review/input on a mailing list such as the metzdowd or randombit crypto lists. And (if possible) pay a professional cryptographer or security company to review your design and code.

Find Enclosed

TLS/Public Key Infrastructure

  • TLS and DTLS (v1.0 to v1.2), including using preshared keys (TLS-PSK) and passwords (TLS-SRP) and most important extensions, such as session tickets, SNI, and ALPN.
  • X.509v3 certificates and CRLs
  • PKIX certificate path validation
  • OCSP requests
  • PKCS #10 certificate requests

Public Key Cryptography

  • RSA signatures and encryption
  • DH and ECDH key agreement
  • Signature schemes DSA, ECDSA, ECGDSA, ECKCDSA, GOST 34.10-2001
  • Post-quantum KEM schemes McEliece (code based) and NewHope (Ring-LWE)
  • ElGamal encryption
  • Padding schemes OAEP, PSS, PKCS #1 v1.5, X9.31

Ciphers and cipher modes

  • Authenticated cipher modes EAX, OCB, GCM, SIV, CCM, and ChaCha20Poly1305
  • Unauthenticated cipher modes CTR, CBC, XTS, CFB, OFB, and ECB
  • AES (including constant time SSSE3 and AES-NI versions)
  • AES candidates Serpent, Twofish, CAST-256
  • Stream ciphers Salsa20/XSalsa20, ChaCha20, and RC4
  • DES, 3DES and DESX
  • Threefish-512, Noekeon, Blowfish, CAST-128, IDEA, XTEA
  • National/telecom block ciphers SEED, KASUMI, MISTY1, GOST 28147
  • Large block cipher construction Lion

Hash functions and MACs

  • SHA-1, SHA-224, SHA-256, SHA-384, and SHA-512
  • SHA-3 winner Keccak-1600
  • Skein-512, BLAKE2b
  • RIPEMD-160, Tiger, Whirlpool, GOST 34.11
  • Authentication codes HMAC, CMAC, Poly1305, SipHash
  • Hash function combiners (Parallel and Comb4P)
  • Non-cryptographic checksums Adler32, CRC24, CRC32
  • Obsolete algorithms MD5, MD4, CBC-MAC, X9.19 DES-MAC

Other Useful Things

  • Interfaces for accessing PKCS #11 and TPM hardware
  • Key derivation functions for passwords, including PBKDF2
  • Password hashing functions, including bcrypt and a PBKDF based scheme
  • General key derivation functions KDF1 and KDF2 from IEEE 1363
  • Format preserving encryption scheme FE1
  • Threshold secret sharing
  • RFC 3394 keywrapping
  • Rivest’s all or nothing transform