International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Kai Hu


Misuse-Free Key-Recovery and Distinguishing Attacks on 7-Round Ascon
Being one of the winning algorithms of the CAESAR competition and currently a second round candidate of the NIST lightweight cryptography standardization project, the authenticated encryption scheme Ascon (designed by Dobraunig, Eichlseder, Mendel, and Schläffer) has withstood extensive self and third-party cryptanalysis. The best known attack on Ascon could only penetrate up to 7 (out of 12) rounds due to Li et al. (ToSC Vol I, 2017). However, it violates the data limit of 264 blocks per key specified by the designers. Moreover, the best known distinguishers of Ascon in the AEAD context reach only 6 rounds. To fill these gaps, we revisit the security of 7-round Ascon in the nonce-respecting setting without violating the data limit as specified in the design. First, we introduce a new superpoly-recovery technique named as partial polynomial multiplication for which computations take place between the so-called degree-d homogeneous parts of the involved Boolean functions for a 2d-dimensional cube. We apply this method to 7-round Ascon and present several key recovery attacks. Our best attack can recover the 128-bit secret key with a time complexity of about 2123 7-round Ascon permutations and requires 264 data and 2101 bits memory. Also, based on division properties, we identify several 60 dimensional cubes whose superpolies are constant zero after 7 rounds. We further improve the cube distinguishers for 4, 5 and 6 rounds. Although our results are far from threatening the security of full 12-round Ascon, they provide new insights in the security analysis of Ascon.
Finding Bit-Based Division Property for Ciphers with Complex Linear Layers 📺
The bit-based division property (BDP) is the most effective technique for finding integral characteristics of symmetric ciphers. Recently, automatic search tools have become one of the most popular approaches to evaluating the security of designs against many attacks. Constraint-aided automatic tools for the BDP have been applied to many ciphers with simple linear layers like bit-permutation. Constructing models of complex linear layers accurately and efficiently remains hard. A straightforward method proposed by Sun et al. (called the S method), decomposes a complex linear layer into basic operations like COPY and XOR, then models them one by one. However, this method can easily insert invalid division trails into the solution pool, which results in a quicker loss of the balanced property than the cipher itself would. In order to solve this problem, Zhang and Rijmen propose the ZR method to link every valid trail with an invertible sub-matrix of the matrix corresponding to the linear layer, and then generate linear inequalities to represent all the invertible sub-matrices. Unfortunately, the ZR method is only applicable to invertible binary matrices (defined in Definition 3).To avoid generating a huge number of inequalities for all the sub-matrices, we build a new model that only includes that the sub-matrix corresponding to a valid trail should be invertible. The computing scale of our model can be tackled by most of SMT/SAT solvers, which makes our method practical. For applications, we improve the previous BDP for LED and MISTY1. We also give the 7-round BDP results for Camellia with FL/FL−1, which is the longest to date.Furthermore, we remove the restriction of the ZR method that the matrix has to be invertible, which provides more choices for future designs. Thanks to this, we also reproduce 5-round key-dependent integral distinguishers proposed at Crypto 2016 which cannot be obtained by either the S or ZR methods.
An Algebraic Formulation of the Division Property: Revisiting Degree Evaluations, Cube Attacks, and Key-Independent Sums 📺
Since it was proposed in 2015 as a generalization of integral properties, the division property has evolved into a powerful tool for probing the structures of Boolean functions whose algebraic normal forms are not available. We capture the most essential elements for the detection of division properties from a pure algebraic perspective, proposing a technique named as {\it monomial prediction}, which can be employed to determine the presence or absence of a monomial in the product of the coordinate functions of a vectorial Boolean function $\bs f$ by counting the number of the so-called {\it monomial trails} across a sequence of simpler functions whose composition is $\bs f$. Under the framework of the monomial prediction, we formally prove that most algorithms for detecting division properties in previous literature raise no false alarms but may miss. We also establish the equivalence between the monomial prediction and the three-subset bit-based division property without unknown subset presented at EUROCRYPT 2020, and show that these two techniques are perfectly accurate. This algebraic formulation gives more insights into division properties and inspires new search strategies. With the monomial prediction, we obtain the {\it exact} algebraic degrees of \TRIVIUM up to 834 rounds for the first time. In the context of cube attacks, we are able to explore a larger search space in limited time and recover the exact algebraic normal forms of complex superpolies with the help of a divide-and-conquer strategy. As a result, we identify more cubes with smaller dimensions, leading to improvements of some near-optimal attacks against 840-, 841- and 842-round \TRIVIUM.
Related-Tweak Statistical Saturation Cryptanalysis and Its Application on QARMA 📺
Statistical saturation attack takes advantage of a set of plaintext with some bits fixed while the others vary randomly, and then track the evolution of a non-uniform plaintext distribution through the cipher. Previous statistical saturation attacks are all implemented under single-key setting, and there is no public attack models under related-key/tweak setting. In this paper, we propose a new cryptanalytic method which can be seen as related-key/tweak statistical saturation attack by revealing the link between the related-key/tweak statistical saturation distinguishers and KDIB (Key Difference Invariant Bias) / TDIB (Tweak Difference Invariant Bias) ones. KDIB cryptanalysis was proposed by Bogdanov et al. at ASIACRYPT’13 and utilizes the property that there can exist linear trails such that their biases are deterministically invariant under key difference. And this method can be easily extended to TDIB distinguishers if the tweak is also alternated. The link between them provides a new and more efficient way to find related-key/tweak statistical saturation distinguishers in ciphers. Thereafter, an automatic searching algorithm for KDIB/TDIB distinguishers is also given in this paper, which can be implemented to find word-level KDIB distinguishers for S-box based key-alternating ciphers. We apply this algorithm to QARMA-64 and give related-tweak statistical saturation attack for 10-round QARMA-64 with outer whitening key. Besides, an 11-round attack on QARMA-128 is also given based on the TDIB technique. Compared with previous public attacks on QARMA including outer whitening key, all attacks presented in this paper are the best ones in terms of the number of rounds.