International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Marcus Dansarie


Breaking HALFLOOP-24
HALFLOOP-24 is a tweakable block cipher that is used to protect automatic link establishment messages in high frequency radio, a technology commonly used by government agencies and industries that need highly robust long-distance communications. We present the first public cryptanalysis of HALFLOOP-24 and show that HALFLOOP-24, despite its key size of 128 bits, is far from providing 128 bit security. More precisely, we give attacks for ciphertext-only, known-plaintext, chosen-plaintext and chosen-ciphertext scenarios. In terms of their complexities, most of them can be considered practical. However, in the real world, the amount of available data is too low for our attacks to work. Our strongest attack, a boomerang key-recovery, finds the first round key with less than 210 encryption and decryption queries. In conclusion, we strongly advise against using HALFLOOP-24.
Cryptanalysis of the SoDark Cipher for HF Radio Automatic Link Establishment 📺
Marcus Dansarie
The SoDark cipher is used to protect transmitted frames in the second and third generation automatic link establishment (ALE) standards for high frequency (HF) radios. The cipher is primarily meant to prevent unauthorized linking and attacks on the availability of HF radio networks. This paper represents the first known security analysis of the cipher used by the second generation ALE protocol—the de facto world standard—and presents a related-tweak attack on the full eight round version of the algorithm. Under certain conditions, collisions of intermediate states several rounds into the cipher can be detected from the ciphertext with high probability. This enables testing against the intermediate states using only parts of the key. The best attack is a chosen-ciphertext attack which can recover the secret key in about an hour with 100% probability, using 29 chosen ciphertexts.