Jammin' on the deck 📺
Currently, a vast majority of symmetric-key cryptographic schemes are built as block cipher modes. The block cipher is designed to be hard to distinguish from a random permutation and this is supported by cryptanalysis, while (good) modes can be proven secure if a random permutation takes the place of the block cipher. As such, block ciphers form an abstraction level that marks the border between cryptanalysis and security proofs. In this paper, we investigate a re-factored version of symmetric-key cryptography built not around the block ciphers but rather the deck function: a keyed function with arbitrary input and output length and incrementality properties. This allows for modes of use that are simpler to analyze and still very efficient thanks to the excellent performance of currently proposed deck functions. We focus on authenticated encryption (AE) modes with varying levels of robustness. Our modes have built-in support for sessions, but are also efficient without them. As a by-product, we define a new ideal model for AE dubbed the jammin cipher. Unlike the OAE2 security models, the jammin cipher is both a operational ideal scheme and a security reference, and addresses real-world use cases such as bi-directional communication and multi-key security.