International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Mustafa Khairallah


Security of COFB against Chosen Ciphertext Attacks 📺
Mustafa Khairallah
COFB is a lightweight Authenticated Encryption with Associated Data (AEAD) mode based on block ciphers. It was proposed in CHES 2017 and is the basis for GIFT-COFB, a finalist in the NIST lightweight standardization project. It comes with provable security results that guarantee its security up to the birthday bound in the nonce-respecting model. However, the designers offer multiple versions of the analysis with different details and the implications of attacks against the scheme are not discussed deeply. In this article, we look at a group of possible forgery and privacy attacks against COFB. We show that the security for both forgery and privacy is bounded by the number of forgery attempts. We show the existence of forgery and privacy attacks with success probability qd/2n/2, given qd forgery attempts. In particular, we show an attack with 2n/2 attempts using only a single known-plaintext encryption query against COFB. While these attacks do not contradict the claims made by the designers of GIFT-COFB, they show its limitations in terms of the number of forgery attempts. They also show that, while COFB generates a 128-bit tag, it behaves in a very similar manner to an AEAD scheme with 64-bit tag. As a result of independent interest, our analysis provides a contradiction to the main theorem of Journal of Cryptology volume 33, pages 703–741 (2020), which includes an improved security proof of COFB compared to the CHES 2017 version. Finally, we discuss the term nqd/2n/2 that appears in the security proof of GIFT-COFB and CHES 2017, showing why there is a security gap between the provable results and the attacks. We emphasize that the results in this article do not threaten the security of GIFT-COFB in the scope of the NIST lightweight cryptography requirements or the claims made by the designers in the specification document of the design.
DEFAULT: Cipher Level Resistance Against Differential Fault Attack 📺
Differential Fault Analysis (DFA) is a well known cryptanalytic technique that exploits faulty outputs of an encryption device. Despite its popularity and similarity with the classical Differential Analysis (DA), a thorough analysis explaining DFA from a designer's point of view is missing in the literature. To the best of our knowledge, no DFA immune cipher at an algorithmic level has been proposed so far. Furthermore, all known DFA countermeasures somehow depend on the device/protocol or on the implementation such as duplication/comparison. As all of these are outside the scope of the cipher designer, we focus on designing a primitive which can protect from DFA on its own. We present the first concept of cipher level DFA resistance which does not rely on any device/protocol related assumption, nor does it depend on any form of duplication. Our construction is simple, software/hardware friendly and DFA security scales up with the state size. It can be plugged before and/or after (almost) any symmetric key cipher and will ensure a non-trivial search complexity against DFA. One key component in our DFA protection layer is an SBox with linear structures. Such SBoxes have never been used in cipher design as they generally perform poorly against differential attacks. We argue that they in fact represent an interesting trade-off between good cryptographic properties and DFA resistance. As a proof of concept, we construct a DFA protecting layer, named DEFAULT-LAYER, as well as a full-fledged block cipher DEFAULT. Our solutions compare favourably to the state-of-the-art, offering advantages over the sophisticated duplication based solutions like impeccable circuits/CRAFT or infective countermeasures.
Weak Keys in the Rekeying Paradigm: Application to COMET and mixFeed 📺
Mustafa Khairallah
In this paper, we study a group of AEAD schemes that use rekeying as a technique to increase efficiency by reducing the state size of the algorithm. We provide a unified model to study the behavior of the keys used in these schemes, called Rekey-and-Chain (RaC). This model helps understand the design of several AEAD schemes. We show generic attacks on these schemes based on the existence of certain types of weak keys. We also show that the borderline between multi-key and single-key analyses of these schemes is not solid and the analysis can be performed independent of the master key, leading sometimes to practical attacks in the multi-key setting. More importantly, the multi-key analysis can be applied in the single key setting, since each message is encrypted with a different key. Consequently, we show gaps in the security analysis of COMET and mixFeed in the single key setting, which led the designers to provide overly optimistic security claims. In the case of COMET, full key recovery can be performed with 264 online queries and 264 offline queries in the single-key setting, or 246 online queries per user and 264 offline queries in the multi-key setting with ∼ 0.5 million users. In the case of mixFeed, we enhance the forgery adversarial advantage in the single-key setting with a factor of 267 compared to what the designers claim. More importantly, our result is just a lower bound of this advantage, since we show that the gap in the analysis of mixFeed depends on properties of the AES Key Schedule that are not well understood and require more cryptanalytic efforts to find a more tight advantage. After reporting these findings, the designers updated their security analyses and accommodated the proposed attacks.
Duel of the Titans: The Romulus and Remus Families of Lightweight AEAD Algorithms 📺
In this article, we propose two new families of very lightweight and efficient authenticated encryption with associated data (AEAD) modes, Romulus and Remus, that provide security beyond the birthday bound with respect to the block-length n. The former uses a tweakable block cipher (TBC) as internal primitive and can be proven secure in the standard model. The later uses a block cipher (BC) as internal primitive and can be proven secure in the ideal cipher model. Both our modes allow to switch very easily from the nonce-respecting to the nonce-misuse scenario.Previous constructions, such as ΘCB3, are quite computationally efficient, yet needing a large memory for implementation, which makes them unsuitable for platforms where lightweight cryptography should play a key role. Romulus and Remus break this barrier by introducing a new architecture evolved from a BC mode COFB. They achieve the best of what can be possible with TBC – the optimal computational efficiency (rate-1 operation) and the minimum state size of a TBC mode (i.e., (n + t)-bit for n-bit block, t-bit tweak TBC), with almost equivalent provable security as ΘCB3. Actually, our comparisons show that both our designs present superior performances when compared to all other recent lightweight AEAD modes, being BC-based, TBC-based or sponge-based, in the nonce-respecting or nonce-misuse scenario. We eventually describe how to instantiate Romulus and Remus modes using the Skinny lightweight tweakable block cipher proposed at CRYPTO 2016, including the hardware implementation results