International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Mohammad Mahzoun


Algebraic Attacks on RAIN and AIM Using Equivalent Representations
Designing novel symmetric-key primitives for advanced protocols like secure multiparty computation (MPC), fully homomorphic encryption (FHE) and zero-knowledge proof systems (ZK), has been an important research topic in recent years. Many such existing primitives adopt quite different design strategies from conventional block ciphers. Notable features include that many of these ciphers are defined over a large finite field, and that a power map is commonly used to construct the nonlinear component due to its efficiency in these applications as well as its strong resistance against the differential and linear cryptanalysis. In this paper, we target the MPC-friendly ciphers AIM and RAIN used for the post-quantum signature schemes AIMer (CCS 2023 and NIST PQC Round 1 Additional Signatures) and Rainier (CCS 2022), respectively. Specifically, we can find equivalent representations of 2-round RAIN and full-round AIM, respectively, which make them vulnerable to either the polynomial method, or the crossbred algorithm, or the fast exhaustive search attack. Consequently, we can break 2-round RAIN with the 128/192/256-bit key in only 2111/2170/2225 bit operations. For full-round AIM with the 128/192/256-bit key, we could break them in 2136.2/2200.7/2265 bit operations, which are equivalent to about 2115/2178/2241 calls of the underlying primitives. In particular, our analysis indicates that AIM does not reach the required security levels by the NIST competition.
ECDSA White-Box Implementations: Attacks and Designs from CHES 2021 Challenge
Despite the growing demand for software implementations of ECDSA secure against attackers with full control of the execution environment, scientific literature on ECDSA white-box design is scarce. The CHES 2021 WhibOx contest was thus held to assess the state-of-the-art and encourage relevant practical research, inviting developers to submit ECDSA white-box implementations and attackers to break the corresponding submissions.In this work, attackers (team TheRealIdefix) and designers (team zerokey) join to describe several attack techniques and designs used during this contest. We explain the methods used by the team TheRealIdefix, which broke the most challenges, and we show the efficiency of each of these methods against all the submitted implementations. Moreover, we describe the designs of the two winning challenges submitted by the team zerokey; these designs represent the ECDSA signature algorithm by a sequence of systems of low-degree equations, which are obfuscated with affine encodings and extra random variables and equations.The WhibOx contest has shown that securing ECDSA in the white-box model is an open and challenging problem, as no implementation survived more than two days. In this context, our designs provide a starting methodology for further research, and our attacks highlight the weak points future work should address.