International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Rotational Differential-Linear Cryptanalysis Revisited

Yunwen Liu
Zhongfeng Niu
Siwei Sun
Chao Li
Lei Hu
DOI: 10.1007/s00145-022-09440-4
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Abstract: The differential-linear attack, combining the power of the two most effective techniques for symmetric-key cryptanalysis, was proposed by Langford and Hellman at CRYPTO 1994. From the exact formula for evaluating the bias of a differential-linear distinguisher (JoC 2017), to the differential-linear connectivity table technique for dealing with the dependencies in the switch between the differential and linear parts (EUROCRYPT 2019), and to the improvements in the context of cryptanalysis of ARX primitives (CRYPTO 2020, EUROCRYPT 2021), we have seen significant development of the differential-linear attack during the last four years. In this work, we further extend this framework by replacing the differential part of the attack by rotational-XOR differentials. Along the way, we establish the theoretical link between the rotational-XOR differential and linear approximations and derive the closed formula for the bias of rotational differential-linear distinguishers, completely generalizing the results on ordinary differential-linear distinguishers due to Blondeau, Leander, and Nyberg (JoC 2017) to the case of rotational differential-linear cryptanalysis. We then revisit the rotational cryptanalysis from the perspective of differential-linear cryptanalysis and generalize Morawiecki et al.’s technique for analyzing Keccak , which leads to a practical method for estimating the bias of a (rotational) differential-linear distinguisher in the special case where the output linear mask is a unit vector. Finally, we apply the rotational differential-linear technique to the cryptographic permutations involved in FRIET , Xoodoo , Alzette , and SipHash . This gives significant improvements over existing cryptanalytic results, or offers explanations for previous experimental distinguishers without a theoretical foundation. To confirm the validity of our analysis, all distinguishers with practical complexities are verified experimentally. Moreover, we discuss the possibility of applying the rotational differential-linear technique to S-box-based designs or keyed primitives, and propose some open problems for future research.
  title={Rotational Differential-Linear Cryptanalysis Revisited},
  journal={Journal of Cryptology},
  author={Yunwen Liu and Zhongfeng Niu and Siwei Sun and Chao Li and Lei Hu},