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.
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.
Lightweight Diffusion Layer: Importance of Toeplitz Matrices
MDS matrices are used as building blocks of diffusion layers in block ciphers, and XOR count is a metric that estimates the hardware implementation cost. In this paper we report the minimum value of XOR counts of 4 × 4 MDS matrices over F24 and F28 , respectively. We give theoretical constructions of Toeplitz MDS matrices and show that they achieve the minimum XOR count. We also prove that Toeplitz matrices cannot be both MDS and involutory. Further we give theoretical constructions of 4 × 4 involutory MDS matrices over F24 and F28 that have the best known XOR counts so far: for F24 our construction gives an involutory MDS matrix that actually improves the existing lower bound of XOR count, whereas for F28 , it meets the known lower bound.