International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Jordan Ethan


Subverting Telegram’s End-to-End Encryption
Telegram is a popular secure messaging service with third biggest user base as of 2021. In this paper, we analyze the security of Telegram’s end-to-end encryption (E2EE) protocol in presence of mass-surveillance. Specifically, we show >that Telegram’s E2EE protocol is susceptible to fairly efficient algorithm substitution attacks. While official Telegram clients should be protected against this type of attack due their open-source nature and reproducible builds, this could potentially lead to a very efficient state sponsored surveillance of private communications over Telegram, either on individuals through a targeted attack or massively through some compromised third-party clients. We provide an efficient algorithm substitution attack against MTProto2.0 — the underlying authenticated encryption scheme — that recovers significant amount of encryption key material with a very high probability with few queries and fairly low latency. This could potentially lead to a very efficient state sponsored surveillance of private communications over Telegram, either through a targeted attack or a compromised third-party app. Our attack exploits MTProto2.0’s degree of freedom in choosing the random padding length and padding value. Accordingly, we strongly recommend that Telegram should revise MTProto2.0’s padding methodology. In particular, we show that a minor change in the padding description of MTProto2.0 makes it subversion-resistant in most of the practical scenarios. As a side-effect, we generalize the underlying mode of operation in MTProto2.0, as MTProto-G, and show that this generalization is a multi-user secure deterministic authenticated encryption scheme.
On Quantum Secure Compressing Pseudorandom Functions
In this paper we characterize all $2n$-bit-to-$n$-bit Pseudorandom Functions (PRFs) constructed with the minimum number of calls to $n$-bit-to-$n$-bit PRFs and arbitrary number of linear functions. First, we show that all two-round constructions are either classically insecure, or vulnerable to quantum period-finding attacks. Second, we categorize three-round constructions depending on their vulnerability to these types of attacks. This allows us to identify classes of constructions that could be proven secure. We then proceed to show the security of the following three candidates against any quantum distinguisher that makes at most $ 2^{n/4} $ (possibly superposition) queries: \begin{align*} TNT(x_1,x_2) &:= f_3(x_2 \oplus f_2(x_2 \oplus f_1(x_1)));\\ LRQ(x_1,x_2) &:= f_2(x_2) \oplus f_3(x_2 \oplus f_1(x_1));\\ LRWQ(x_1,x_2) &:= f_3( f_1(x_1) \oplus f_2(x_2)). \end{align*} Note that the first construction is a classically secure tweakable block-cipher due to Bao et al., and the third construction was shown to be a quantum-secure tweakable block-cipher by Hosoyamada and Iwata with similar query limits. Of note is our proof framework, an adaptation of Chung et al.'s rigorous formulation of Zhandry's compressed oracle technique in the indistinguishability setup, which could be of independent interest. This framework gives very compact and mostly classical-looking proofs as compared to Hosoyamada-Iwata interpretation of Zhandry's compressed oracle.
On Large Tweaks in Tweakable Even-Mansour with Linear Tweak and Key Mixing
In this paper, we provide the first analysis of the Iterated Tweakable Even-Mansour cipher with linear tweak and key (or tweakey) mixing, henceforth referred as TEML, for an arbitrary tweak(ey) size kn for all k ≥ 1, and arbitrary number of rounds r ≥ 2. Note that TEML captures the high-level design paradigm of most of the existing tweakable block ciphers (TBCs), including SKINNY, Deoxys, TweGIFT, TweAES etc. from a provable security point of view. At ASIACRYPT 2015, Cogliati and Seurin initiated the study of TEML by showing that 4-round TEML with a 2n-bit uniform at random key, and n-bit tweak is secure up to 22n/3 queries. In this work, we extend this line of research in two directions. First, we propose a necessary and sufficient class of linear tweakey schedules to absorb mn-bit tweak(ey) material in a minimal number of rounds, for all m ≥ 1. Second, we give a rigorous provable security treatment for r-round TEML, for all r ≥ 2. In particular, we first show that the 2r-round TEML with a (2r + 1)n-bit key, αn-bit tweak, and a special class of tweakey schedule is IND-CCA secure up to O(2r−α/r n) queries. Our proof crucially relies on the use of the coupling technique to upper-bound the statistical distance of the outputs of TEML cipher from the uniform distribution. Our main echnical contribution is a novel approach for computing the probability of failure in coupling, which could be of independent interest for deriving tighter bounds in coupling-based security proofs. Next, we shift our focus to the chosen-key setting, and show that (r + 3)-round TEML, with rn bits of tweakey material and a special class of tweakey schedule, offers some form of resistance to chosen-key attacks. We prove this by showing that r + 3 rounds of TEML are both necessary and sufficient for sequential indifferentiability. As a consequence of our results, we provide a sound provable security footing for the TWEAKEY framework, a high level design rationale of popular TBC.
CTET+: A Beyond-Birthday-Bound Secure Tweakable Enciphering Scheme Using a Single Pseudorandom Permutation 📺
In this work, we propose a construction of 2-round tweakable substitutionpermutation networks using a single secret S-box. This construction is based on non-linear permutation layers using independent round keys, and achieves security beyond the birthday bound in the random permutation model. When instantiated with an n-bit block cipher with ωn-bit keys, the resulting tweakable block cipher, dubbed CTET+, can be viewed as a tweakable enciphering scheme that encrypts ωκ-bit messages for any integer ω ≥ 2 using 5n + κ-bit keys and n-bit tweaks, providing 2n/3-bit security.Compared to the 2-round non-linear SPN analyzed in [CDK+18], we both minimize it by requiring a single permutation, and weaken the requirements on the middle linear layer, allowing better performance. As a result, CTET+ becomes the first tweakable enciphering scheme that provides beyond-birthday-bound security using a single permutation, while its efficiency is still comparable to existing schemes including AES-XTS, EME, XCB and TET. Furthermore, we propose a new tweakable enciphering scheme, dubbed AES6-CTET+, which is an actual instantiation of CTET+ using a reduced round AES block cipher as the underlying secret S-box. Extensivecryptanalysis of this algorithm allows us to claim 127 bits of security.Such tweakable enciphering schemes with huge block sizes become desirable in the context of disk encryption, since processing a whole sector as a single block significantly worsens the granularity for attackers when compared to, for example, AES-XTS, which treats every 16-byte block on the disk independently. Besides, as a huge amount of data is being stored and encrypted at rest under many different keys in clouds, beyond-birthday-bound security will most likely become necessary in the short term.