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Publication# Algebraic Cryptanalysis of Deterministic Symmetric Encryption

Abstract

Deterministic symmetric encryption is widely used in many cryptographic applications. The security of deterministic block and stream ciphers is evaluated using cryptanalysis. Cryptanalysis is divided into two main categories: statistical cryptanalysis and algebraic cryptanalysis. Statistical cryptanalysis is a powerful tool for evaluating the security but it often requires a large number of plaintext/ciphertext pairs which is not always available in real life scenario. Algebraic cryptanalysis requires a smaller number of plaintext/ciphertext pairs but the attacks are often underestimated compared to statistical methods. In algebraic cryptanalysis, we consider a polynomial system representing the cipher and a solution of this system reveals the secret key used in the encryption. The contribution of this thesis is twofold. Firstly, we evaluate the performance of existing algebraic techniques with respect to number of plaintext/ciphertext pairs and their selection. We introduce a new strategy for selection of samples. We build this strategy based on cube attacks, which is a well-known technique in algebraic cryptanalysis. We use cube attacks as a fast heuristic to determine sets of plaintexts for which standard algebraic methods, such as Groebner basis techniques or SAT solvers, are more efficient. Secondly, we develop a~new technique for algebraic cryptanalysis which allows us to speed-up existing Groebner basis techniques. This is achieved by efficient finding special polynomials called mutants. Using these mutants in Groebner basis computations and SAT solvers reduces the computational cost to solve the system. Hence, both our methods are designed as tools for building polynomial system representing a cipher. Both tools can be combined and they lead to a significant speedup, even for very simple algebraic solvers.

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Ontological neighbourhood

Differential cryptanalysis

Differential cryptanalysis is a general form of cryptanalysis applicable primarily to block ciphers, but also to stream ciphers and cryptographic hash functions. In the broadest sense, it is the study of how differences in information input can affect the resultant difference at the output. In the case of a block cipher, it refers to a set of techniques for tracing differences through the network of transformation, discovering where the cipher exhibits non-random behavior, and exploiting such properties to recover the secret key (cryptography key).

Block cipher

In cryptography, a block cipher is a deterministic algorithm that operates on fixed-length groups of bits, called blocks. Block ciphers are the elementary building blocks of many cryptographic protocols. They are ubiquitous in the storage and exchange of data, where such data is secured and authenticated via encryption. A block cipher uses blocks as an unvarying transformation. Even a secure block cipher is suitable for the encryption of only a single block of data at a time, using a fixed key.

Key (cryptography)

A key in cryptography is a piece of information, usually a string of numbers or letters that are stored in a file, which, when processed through a cryptographic algorithm, can encode or decode cryptographic data. Based on the used method, the key can be different sizes and varieties, but in all cases, the strength of the encryption relies on the security of the key being maintained. A key's security strength is dependent on its algorithm, the size of the key, the generation of the key, and the process of key exchange.

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