International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Qingliang Hou


Generic MitM Attack Frameworks on Sponge Constructions
This paper proposes general meet-in-the-middle (MitM) attack frameworks for preimage and collision attacks on hash functions based on (generalized) sponge construction. As the first contribution, our MitM preimage attack framework covers a wide range of sponge-based hash functions, especially those with lower claimed security level for preimage compared to their output size. Those hash functions have been very widely standardized (e.g., {\tt Ascon-Hash}, {\tt PHOTON}, etc.), but are rarely studied against preimage attacks. Even the recent MitM attack framework on sponge construction by Qin et al. (EUROCRYPT 2023) cannot attack those hash functions. As the second contribution, our MitM collision attack framework shows a different tool for the collision cryptanalysis on sponge construction, while previous collision attacks on sponge construction are mainly based on differential attacks. Most of the results in this paper are the first third-party cryptanalysis results. If cryptanalysis previously existed, our new results significantly improve the previous results, such as improving the previous 2-round collision attack on {\tt Ascon-Hash} to the current 4 rounds, improving the previous 3.5-round quantum preimage attack on SPHINCS$^+$-{\tt Haraka} to our 4-round classical preimage attack, etc.
Automated Meet-in-the-Middle Attack Goes to Feistel
Feistel network and its generalizations (GFN) are another important building blocks for constructing hash functions, e.g., Simpiravb, Areion, and the ISO standard Lesamnta-lw. The Meet-in-the-Middle (MitM) is a general paradigm to build preimage and collision attacks on hash functions, which has been automated in several papers. However, those automatic tools mostly focus on hash function with Substitution–Permutation network (SPN) as building blocks, and only one for Feistel network by Schrottenloher and Stevens (at CRYPTO 2022). In this paper, we introduce a new automatic model for MitM attacks on Feistel networks by generalizing the traditional {\em direct or indirect partial matching strategies} and also Sasaki's multi-round matching strategy. Besides, we find the equivalent transformations of Feistel and GFN can significantly simplify the MILP modellings. Based on our automatic model, we improve the preimage attacks on Feistel-SP-MMO, Simpira-2/-4-DM, Areion-256/-512-DM by 1-2 rounds or significantly reduce the complexities. Furthermore, we fill in the gap left by Schrottenloher and Stevens at CRYPTO 2022 on the large branch ($b>4$) Simpira-$b$'s attack and propose the first 11-round attack on Simpira-6. Besides, we significantly improve the collision attack on the ISO standard hash Lesamnta-lw by increasing the attacked round number from previous 11 to ours 17 rounds.