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Publication# Analysis and design of symmetric cryptographic algorithms

Abstract

This thesis is concerned with the analysis and design of symmetric cryptographic algorithms, with a focus on real-world algorithms. The first part describes original cryptanalysis results, including: The first nontrivial preimage attacks on the (reduced) hash function MD5, and on the full HAVAL. Our results were later improved by Sasaki and Aoki, giving a preimage attack on the full MD5. The best key-recovery attacks so far on reduced versions of the stream cipher Salsa20, selected by the European Network of Excellence ECRYPT as a recommendation for software applications, and one of the two ciphers (with AES) in the NaCl cryptographic library. The academic break of the block cipher MULTI2, used in the Japanese digital-TV standard ISDB. While MULTI2 was designed in 1988, our results are the first analysis of MULTI2 to appear as an international publication. We then present a general framework for distinguishers on symmetric cryptographic algorithms, based on the cube attacks of Dinur and Shamir: our cube testers build on algebraic property-testing algorithms to mount distinguishers on algorithms that possess some efficiently testable structure. We apply cube testers to some well known algorithms: On the compression function of MD6, we distinguish 18 rounds (out of 80) from a random function. On the stream cipher Trivium, we obtain the best distinguisher known so far, reaching 885 rounds out of 1152. On the stream cipher Grain-128, using FPGA devices to run high-complexity attacks, we obtain the best distinguisher known so far, and can conjecture the existence of a shortcut attack on the full Grain-128. These results were presented at FSE 2008, SAC 2008, FSE 2009, and SHARCS 2009. The second part of this thesis presents a new hash function, called BLAKE, which we submitted to the NIST Hash Competition. Besides a complete specification, we report on our implementations of BLAKE in hardware and software, and present a preliminary security analysis. As of August 2009, BLAKE is one of the 14 submissions accepted as Second Round Candidates by NIST, and no attack on BLAKE is known.

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Related publications (2)

Related concepts (7)

Preimage attack

In cryptography, a preimage attack on cryptographic hash functions tries to find a message that has a specific hash value. A cryptographic hash function should resist attacks on its (set of possible inputs). In the context of attack, there are two types of preimage resistance: preimage resistance: for essentially all pre-specified outputs, it is computationally infeasible to find any input that hashes to that output; i.e., given , it is difficult to find an such that () = .

NIST hash function competition

The NIST hash function competition was an open competition held by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop a new hash function called SHA-3 to complement the older SHA-1 and SHA-2. The competition was formally announced in the Federal Register on November 2, 2007. "NIST is initiating an effort to develop one or more additional hash algorithms through a public competition, similar to the development process for the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).

Hash function

A hash function is any function that can be used to map data of arbitrary size to fixed-size values, though there are some hash functions that support variable length output. The values returned by a hash function are called hash values, hash codes, digests, or simply hashes. The values are usually used to index a fixed-size table called a hash table. Use of a hash function to index a hash table is called hashing or scatter storage addressing.

Cryptographic hash functions are used in many cryptographic applications, and the design of provably secure hash functions (relative to various security notions) is an active area of research. Most of the currently existing hash functions use the Merkle-Damgård paradigm, where by appropriate iteration the hash function inherits its collision and preimage resistance from the underlying compression function. Compression functions can either be constructed from scratch or be built using well-known cryptographic primitives such as a blockcipher. One classic type of primitive-based compression functions is single-block-length : It contains designs that have an output size matching the output length n of the underlying primitive. The single-block-length setting is well-understood. Yet even for the optimally secure constructions, the (time) complexity of collision- and preimage-finding attacks is at most 2n/2, respectively 2n ; when n = 128 (e.g., Advanced Encryption Standard) the resulting bounds have been deemed unacceptable for current practice. As a remedy, multi-block-length primitive-based compression functions, which output more than n bits, have been proposed. This output expansion is typically achieved by calling the primitive multiple times and then combining the resulting primitive outputs in some clever way. In this thesis, we study the collision and preimage resistance of certain types of multi-call multi-block-length primitive-based compression (and the corresponding Merkle-Damgård iterated hash) functions : Our contribution is three-fold. First, we provide a novel framework for blockcipher-based compression functions that compress 3n bits to 2n bits and that use two calls to a 2n-bit key blockcipher with block-length n. We restrict ourselves to two parallel calls and analyze the sufficient conditions to obtain close-to-optimal collision resistance, either in the compression function or in the Merkle-Damgård iteration. Second, we present a new compression function h: {0,1}3n → {0,1}2n ; it uses two parallel calls to an ideal primitive (public random function) from 2n to n bits. This is similar to MDC-2 or the recently proposed MJH by Lee and Stam (CT-RSA'11). However, unlike these constructions, already in the compression function we achieve that an adversary limited (asymptotically in n) to O (22n(1-δ)/3) queries (for any δ > 0) has a disappearing advantage to find collisions. This is the first construction of this type offering collision resistance beyond 2n/2 queries. Our final contribution is the (re)analysis of the preimage and collision resistance of the Knudsen-Preneel compression functions in the setting of public random functions. Knudsen-Preneel compression functions utilize an [r,k,d] linear error-correcting code over 𝔽2e (for e > 1) to build a compression function from underlying blockciphers operating in the Davies-Meyer mode. Knudsen and Preneel show, in the complexity-theoretic setting, that finding collisions takes time at least 2(d-1)n2. Preimage resistance, however, is conjectured to be the square of the collision resistance. Our results show that both the collision resistance proof and the preimage resistance conjecture of Knudsen and Preneel are incorrect : With the exception of two of the proposed parameters, the Knudsen-Preneel compression functions do not achieve the security level they were designed for.

Preneel, Govaerts, and Vandewalle (1993) considered the 64 most basic ways to construct a hash function H: {0, 1}*->{0, 1}(n) from a blockcipher E: {0, 1}(n) x {0, 1}(n)->{0,1}(n). They regarded 12 of these 64 schemes as secure, though no proofs or formal claims were given. Here we provide a proof-based treatment of the PGV schemes. We show that, in the ideal-cipher model, the 12 schemes considered secure by PGV really are secure: we give tight upper and lower bounds on their collision resistance. Furthermore, by stepping outside of the Merkle-Damgard approach to analysis, we show that an additional 8 of the PGV schemes are just as collision resistant (up to a constant). Nonetheless, we are able to differentiate among the 20 collision-resistant schemes by considering their preimage resistance: only the 12 initial schemes enjoy optimal preimage resistance. Our work demonstrates that proving ideal-cipher-model bounds is a feasible and useful step for understanding the security of blockcipher-based hash-function constructions.