International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Daniel Kales


Improving the Performance of the Picnic Signature Scheme 📺
Daniel Kales Greg Zaverucha
Picnic is a digital signature algorithm designed to provide security against attacks by quantum computers. The design uses only symmetric-key primitives, and is an efficient instantiation of the MPC-in-the-head paradigm. In this work, we explore the Picnic design in great detail. We investigate and benchmark different parameter choices and show that there exist better parameter choices than those in the current specification. We also present improvements to the MPC protocol that shorten signatures and reduce signing time. The proposed MPC changes tailor the protocol to the circuit of interest in Picnic, but may also be of independent interest. Taken together, these changes give a new instantiation of Picnic that signs messages 7.9 to 13.9 times faster, and verifies signatures 4.5 to 5.5 times faster than the existing “Picnic2” design, while having nearly the same signature sizes.
Linear Equivalence of Block Ciphers with Partial Non-Linear Layers: Application to LowMC
$$\textsc {LowMC}$$LOWMC is a block cipher family designed in 2015 by Albrecht et al. It is optimized for practical instantiations of multi-party computation, fully homomorphic encryption, and zero-knowledge proofs. $$\textsc {LowMC}$$LOWMC is used in the $$\textsc {Picnic}$$PICNIC signature scheme, submitted to NIST’s post-quantum standardization project and is a substantial building block in other novel post-quantum cryptosystems. Many $$\textsc {LowMC}$$LOWMC instances use a relatively recent design strategy (initiated by Gérard et al. at CHES 2013) of applying the non-linear layer to only a part of the state in each round, where the shortage of non-linear operations is partially compensated by heavy linear algebra. Since the high linear algebra complexity has been a bottleneck in several applications, one of the open questions raised by the designers was to reduce it, without introducing additional non-linear operations (or compromising security).In this paper, we consider $$\textsc {LowMC}$$LOWMC instances with block size n, partial non-linear layers of size $$s \le n$$s≤n and r encryption rounds. We redesign LowMC’s linear components in a way that preserves its specification, yet improves LowMC’s performance in essentially every aspect. Most of our optimizations are applicable to all SP-networks with partial non-linear layers and shed new light on this relatively new design methodology.Our main result shows that when $$s < n$$s<n, each $$\textsc {LowMC}$$LOWMC instance belongs to a large class of equivalent instances that differ in their linear layers. We then select a representative instance from this class for which encryption (and decryption) can be implemented much more efficiently than for an arbitrary instance. This yields a new encryption algorithm that is equivalent to the standard one, but reduces the evaluation time and storage of the linear layers from $$r \cdot n^2$$r·n2 bits to about $$r \cdot n^2 - (r-1)(n-s)^2$$r·n2-(r-1)(n-s)2. Additionally, we reduce the size of LowMC’s round keys and constants and optimize its key schedule and instance generation algorithms. All of these optimizations give substantial improvements for small s and a reasonable choice of r. Finally, we formalize the notion of linear equivalence of block ciphers and prove the optimality of some of our results.Comprehensive benchmarking of our optimizations in various $$\textsc {LowMC}$$LOWMC applications (such as $$\textsc {Picnic}$$PICNIC) reveals improvements by factors that typically range between 2x and 40x in runtime and memory consumption.
Clustering Related-Tweak Characteristics: Application to MANTIS-6 📺
Maria Eichlseder Daniel Kales
The TWEAKEY/STK construction is an increasingly popular approach for designing tweakable block ciphers that notably uses a linear tweakey schedule. Several recent attacks have analyzed the implications of this approach for differential cryptanalysis and other attacks that can take advantage of related tweakeys. We generalize the clustering approach of a recent differential attack on the tweakable block cipher MANTIS5 and describe a tool for efficiently finding and evaluating such clusters. More specifically, we consider the set of all differential characteristics compatible with a given truncated characteristic, tweak difference, and optional constraints for the differential. We refer to this set as a semi-truncated characteristic and estimate its probability by analyzing the distribution of compatible differences at each step. We apply this approach to find a semi-truncated differential characteristic for MANTIS6 with probability about 2−67.73 and derive a key-recovery attack with a complexity of about 255.09 chosen-plaintext queries and 255.52 computations. The data-time product is 2110.61 &lt;&lt; 2126.
Practical Key-Recovery Attack on MANTIS5
MANTIS is a lightweight tweakable block cipher published at CRYPTO 2016. In addition to the full 14-round version, MANTIS7, the designers also propose an aggressive 10-round version, MANTIS5. The security claim for MANTIS5 is resistance against “practical attacks”, defined as related-tweak attacks with data complexity 2d less than 230 chosen plaintexts (or 240 known plaintexts), and computational complexity at most 2126−d. We present a key-recovery attack against MANTIS5 with 228 chosen plaintexts and a computational complexity of about 238 block cipher calls, which violates this claim. Our attack is based on a family of differential characteristics and exploits several properties of the lightweight round function and tweakey schedule. To verify the validity of the attack, we also provide a practical implementation which recovers the full key in about 1 core hour using 230 chosen plaintexts.