International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Zhenzhen Bao


XOCB: Beyond-Birthday-Bound Secure Authenticated Encryption Mode with Rate-One Computation
We present a new block cipher mode of operation for authenticated encryption (AE), dubbed XOCB, that has the following features: (1) beyond-birthday-bound (BBB) security based on standard pseudorandom assumption of the internal block cipher if the maximum block length is sufficiently smaller than the birthday bound, (2) rate-1 computation, and (3) supporting any block cipher with any key length. Namely, XOCB has effectively the same efficiency as the seminal OCB while having stronger quantitative security without any change in the security model or the required primitive in OCB. Although numerous studies have been conducted in the past, our XOCB is the first mode of operation to achieve these multiple goals simultaneously.
Superposition Meet-in-the-Middle Attacks: Updates on Fundamental Security of AES-like Ciphers 📺
Zhenzhen Bao Jian Guo Danping Shi Yi Tu
The Meet-in-the-Middle approach is one of the most powerful cryptanalysis techniques, demonstrated by its applications in preimage attacks on the full MD4, MD5, Tiger, HAVAL, and Haraka-512 v2 hash functions, and key recovery of the full block cipher KTANTAN. The success relies on the separation of a primitive into two independent chunks, where each active cell of the state is used to represent only one chunk or is otherwise considered unusable once mixed. We observe that some of such cells are linearly mixed and can be as useful as the independent ones. This leads to the introduction of superposition states and a whole suite of accompanied techniques, which we incorporate into the MILP-based search framework proposed by Bao et al. at EUROCRYPT 2021 and Dong et al. at CRYPTO 2021, and find applications on a wide range of AES-like hash functions and block ciphers.
Enhancing Differential-Neural Cryptanalysis 📺
In CRYPTO 2019, Gohr shows that well-trained neural networks can perform cryptanalytic distinguishing tasks superior to traditional differential distinguishers. Moreover, applying an unorthodox key guessing strategy, an 11-round key-recovery attack on a modern block cipher Speck32/64 improves upon the published state-of-the-art result. This calls into the next questions. To what extent is the advantage of machine learning (ML) over traditional methods, and whether the advantage generally exists in the cryptanalysis of modern ciphers? To answer the first question, we devised ML-based key-recovery attacks on more extended round-reduced Speck32/64. We achieved an improved 12-round and the first practical 13-round attacks. The essential for the new results is enhancing a classical component in the ML-based attacks, that is, the neutral bits. To answer the second question, we produced various neural distinguishers on round-reduced Simon32/64 and provided comparisons with their pure differential-based counterparts.
Automatic Search of Meet-in-the-Middle Preimage Attacks on AES-like Hashing 📺
The Meet-in-the-Middle (MITM) preimage attack is highly effective in breaking the preimage resistance of many hash functions, including but not limited to the full MD5, HAVAL, and Tiger, and reduced SHA-0/1/2. It was also shown to be a threat to hash functions built on block ciphers like AES by Sasaki in 2011. Recently, such attacks on AES hashing modes evolved from merely using the freedom of choosing the internal state to also exploiting the freedom of choosing the message state. However, detecting such attacks especially those evolved variants is difficult. In previous works, the search space of the configurations of such attacks is limited, such that manual analysis is practical, which results in sub-optimal solutions. In this paper, we remove artificial limitations in previous works, formulate the essential ideas of the construction of the attack in well-defined ways, and translate the problem of searching for the best attacks into optimization problems under constraints in Mixed-Integer-Linear-Programming (MILP) models. The MILP models capture a large solution space of valid attacks; and the objectives of the MILP models are attack configurations with the minimized computational complexity. With such MILP models and using the off-the-shelf solver, it is efficient to search for the best attacks exhaustively. As a result, we obtain the first attacks against the full (5-round) and an extended (5.5-round) version of Haraka-512 v2, and 8-round AES-128 hashing modes, as well as improved attacks covering more rounds of Haraka-256 v2 and other members of AES and Rijndael hashing modes.
Improved Meet-in-the-Middle Preimage Attacks against AES Hashing Modes 📺
Hashing modes are ways to convert a block cipher into a hash function, and those with AES as the underlying block cipher are referred to as AES hashing modes. Sasaki in 2011, introduced the first preimage attack against AES hashing modes with the AES block cipher reduced to 7 rounds, by the method of meet-in-the-middle. In his attack, the key-schedules are not taken into account. Hence, the same attack applies to all three versions of AES. In this paper, by introducing neutral bits from the key, extra degree of freedom is gained, which is utilized in two ways, i.e., to reduce the time complexity and to extend the attack to more rounds. As an immediate result, the complexities of 7-round pseudo-preimage attacks are reduced from 2120 to 2104, 296, and 296 for AES-128, AES-192, and AES-256, respectively. By carefully choosing the neutral bits from the key to cancel those from the state, the attack is extended to 8 rounds for AES-192 and AES-256 with complexities 2112 and 296. Similar results are obtained for Kiasu-BC, a tweakable block cipher based on AES-128, and interestingly the additional input tweak helps reduce the complexity and extend the attack to one more round. To the best of our knowledge, these are the first preimage attacks against 8-round AES hashing modes.
TNT: How to Tweak a Block Cipher 📺
Zhenzhen Bao Chun Guo Jian Guo Ling Song
In this paper, we propose Tweak-aNd-Tweak (TNT for short) mode, which builds a tweakable block cipher from three independent block ciphers. TNT handles the tweak input by simply XOR-ing the unmodified tweak into the internal state of block ciphers twice. Due to its simplicity, TNT can also be viewed as a way of turning a block cipher into a tweakable block cipher by dividing the block cipher into three chunks, and adding the tweak at the two cutting points only. TNT is proven to be of beyond-birthday-bound $2^{2n/3}$ security, under the assumption that the three chunks are independent secure $n$-bit SPRPs. It clearly brings minimum possible overhead to both software and hardware implementations. To demonstrate this, an instantiation named TNT-AES with 6, 6, 6 rounds of AES as the underlying block ciphers is proposed. Besides the inherent proven security bound and tweak-independent rekeying feature of the TNT mode, the performance of TNT-AES is comparable with all existing TBCs designed through modular methods.
Optimizing Implementations of Linear Layers 📺
In this paper, we propose a new heuristic algorithm to search efficient implementations (in terms of Xor count) of linear layers used in symmetric-key cryptography. It is observed that the implementation cost of an invertible matrix is related to its matrix decomposition if sequential-Xor (s-Xor) metric is considered, thus reducing the implementation cost is equivalent to constructing an optimized matrix decomposition. The basic idea of this work is to find various matrix decompositions for a given matrix and optimize those decompositions to pick the best implementation. In order to optimize matrix decompositions, we present several matrix multiplication rules over F2, which are proved to be very powerful in reducing the implementation cost. We illustrate this heuristic by searching implementations of several matrices proposed recently and matrices already used in block ciphers and Hash functions, and the results show that our heuristic performs equally good or outperforms Paar’s and Boyar-Peralta’s heuristics in most cases.
Extended Truncated-differential Distinguishers on Round-reduced AES 📺
Zhenzhen Bao Jian Guo Eik List
Distinguishers on round-reduced AES have attracted considerable attention in the recent years. While the number of rounds covered in key-recovery attacks did not increase, subspace, yoyo, mixture-differential, and multiple-of-n cryptanalysis advanced the understanding of the properties of the cipher.For substitution-permutation networks, integral attacks are a suitable target for extension since they usually end after a linear layer sums several subcomponents. Based on results by Patarin, Chen et al. already observed that the expected number of collisions for a sum of permutations differs slightly from that for a random primitive. Though, their target remained lightweight primitives.The present work illustrates how the well-known integral distinguisher on three-round AES resembles a sum of PRPs and can be extended to truncated-differential distinguishers over 4 and 5 rounds. In contrast to previous distinguishers by Grassi et al., our approach allows to prepend a round that starts from a diagonal subspace. We demonstrate how the prepended round can be used for key recovery with a new differential key-recovery attack on six-round AES. Moreover, we show how the prepended round can also be integrated to form a six-round distinguisher. For all distinguishers and the key-recovery attack, our results are supported by implementations with Cid et al.’s established Small-AES version. While the distinguishers do not threaten the security of the AES, they try to shed more light on its properties.
PEIGEN – a Platform for Evaluation, Implementation, and Generation of S-boxes 📺
Zhenzhen Bao Jian Guo San Ling Yu Sasaki
In this paper, a platform named PEIGEN is presented to evaluate security, find efficient software/hardware implementations, and generate cryptographic S-boxes. Continuously developed for decades, S-boxes are constantly evolving in terms of the design criteria for both security requirements and software/hardware performances. PEIGEN is aimed to be a platform covering a comprehensive check-list of design criteria of S-boxes appearing in the literature. To do so, the security requirements are first intensively surveyed, existing tools of S-boxes are then comprehensively compared, and finally our platform PEIGEN is presented. The survey part is aimed to be a systematic reference for the theoretical study of S-boxes. The platform is aimed to be an assistant tool for the experimental study and practical use of S-boxes. PEIGEN not only integrates most of the features in existing tools, but also equips with functionalities to evaluate new security-related properties, improves the efficiency of the search algorithms for optimized implementations in several aspects. With the help of this powerful platform, many interesting observations are made in-between the security notations, as well as on the S-boxes used in the existing symmetrickey cryptographic primitives. PEIGEN will become an open platform and welcomes contributions from all parties to help the community to facilitate the research and use of S-boxes.
ZOCB and ZOTR: Tweakable Blockcipher Modes for Authenticated Encryption with Full Absorption 📺
We define ZOCB and ZOTR for nonce-based authenticated encryption with associated data, and analyze their provable security. These schemes use a tweakable blockcipher (TBC) as the underlying primitive, and fully utilize its input to process a plaintext and associated data (AD). This property is commonly referred to as full absorption, and this has been explored for schemes based on a permutation or a pseudorandom function (PRF). Our schemes improve the efficiency of TBC-based counterparts of OCB and OTR called OCB3 (Krovetz and Rogaway, FSE 2011) and OTR (Minematsu, EUROCRYPT 2014). Specifically, ΘCB3 and OTR have an independent part to process AD, and our schemes integrate this process into the encryption part of a plaintext by using the tweak input of the TBC. Up to a certain length of AD, ZOCB and ZOTR completely eliminate the independent process for it. Even for longer AD, our schemes process it efficiently by fully using the tweak input of the TBC. For this purpose, based on previous tweak extension schemes for TBCs, we introduce a scheme called XTX*. To our knowledge, ZOCB and ZOTR are the first efficiency improvement of ΘCB3 and OTR in terms of the number of TBC calls. Compared to Sponge-based and PRF-based schemes, ZOCB and ZOTR allow fully parallel computation of the underlying primitive, and have a unique design feature that an authentication tag is independent of a part of AD. We present experimental results illustrating the practical efficiency gain and clarifying the efficiency cost for it with a concrete instantiation. The results show that for long input data, our schemes have gains, while we have efficiency loss for short input data.
Generic Attacks on Hash Combiners
Hash combiners are a practical way to make cryptographic hash functions more tolerant to future attacks and compatible with existing infrastructure. A combiner combines two or more hash functions in a way that is hopefully more secure than each of the underlying hash functions, or at least remains secure as long as one of them is secure. Two classical hash combiners are the exclusive-or (XOR) combiner $$ \mathcal {H}_1(M) \oplus \mathcal {H}_2(M) $$ H 1 ( M ) ⊕ H 2 ( M ) and the concatenation combiner $$ \mathcal {H}_1(M) \Vert \mathcal {H}_2(M) $$ H 1 ( M ) ‖ H 2 ( M ) . Both of them process the same message using the two underlying hash functions in parallel. Apart from parallel combiners, there are also cascade constructions sequentially calling the underlying hash functions to process the message repeatedly, such as Hash-Twice $$\mathcal {H}_2(\mathcal {H}_1(IV, M), M)$$ H 2 ( H 1 ( I V , M ) , M ) and the Zipper hash $$\mathcal {H}_2(\mathcal {H}_1(IV, M), \overleftarrow{M})$$ H 2 ( H 1 ( I V , M ) , M ← ) , where $$\overleftarrow{M}$$ M ← is the reverse of the message M . In this work, we study the security of these hash combiners by devising the best-known generic attacks. The results show that the security of most of the combiners is not as high as commonly believed. We summarize our attacks and their computational complexities (ignoring the polynomial factors) as follows: 1. Several generic preimage attacks on the XOR combiner: A first attack with a best-case complexity of $$ 2^{5n/6} $$ 2 5 n / 6 obtained for messages of length $$ 2^{n/3} $$ 2 n / 3 . It relies on a novel technical tool named interchange structure. It is applicable for combiners whose underlying hash functions follow the Merkle–Damgård construction or the HAIFA framework. A second attack with a best-case complexity of $$ 2^{2n/3} $$ 2 2 n / 3 obtained for messages of length $$ 2^{n/2} $$ 2 n / 2 . It exploits properties of functional graphs of random mappings. It achieves a significant improvement over the first attack but is only applicable when the underlying hash functions use the Merkle–Damgård construction. An improvement upon the second attack with a best-case complexity of $$ 2^{5n/8} $$ 2 5 n / 8 obtained for messages of length $$ 2^{5n/8} $$ 2 5 n / 8 . It further exploits properties of functional graphs of random mappings and uses longer messages. These attacks show a rather surprising result: regarding preimage resistance, the sum of two n -bit narrow-pipe hash functions following the considered constructions can never provide n -bit security. 2. A generic second-preimage attack on the concatenation combiner of two Merkle–Damgård hash functions. This attack finds second preimages faster than $$ 2^n $$ 2 n for challenges longer than $$ 2^{2n/7} $$ 2 2 n / 7 and has a best-case complexity of $$ 2^{3n/4} $$ 2 3 n / 4 obtained for challenges of length $$ 2^{3n/4} $$ 2 3 n / 4 . It also exploits properties of functional graphs of random mappings. 3. The first generic second-preimage attack on the Zipper hash with underlying hash functions following the Merkle–Damgård construction. The best-case complexity is $$ 2^{3n/5} $$ 2 3 n / 5 , obtained for challenge messages of length $$ 2^{2n/5} $$ 2 2 n / 5 . 4. An improved generic second-preimage attack on Hash-Twice with underlying hash functions following the Merkle–Damgård construction. The best-case complexity is $$ 2^{13n/22} $$ 2 13 n / 22 , obtained for challenge messages of length $$ 2^{13n/22} $$ 2 13 n / 22 . The last three attacks show that regarding second-preimage resistance, the concatenation and cascade of two n -bit narrow-pipe Merkle–Damgård hash functions do not provide much more security than that can be provided by a single n -bit hash function. Our main technical contributions include the following: 1. The interchange structure, which enables simultaneously controlling the behaviours of two hash computations sharing the same input. 2. The simultaneous expandable message, which is a set of messages of length covering a whole appropriate range and being multi-collision for both of the underlying hash functions. 3. New ways to exploit the properties of functional graphs of random mappings generated by fixing the message block input to the underlying compression functions.
Functional Graphs and Their Applications in Generic Attacks on Iterated Hash Constructions
Zhenzhen Bao Jian Guo Lei Wang
We provide a survey about generic attacks on cryptographic hash constructions including hash-based message authentication codes and hash combiners. We look into attacks involving iteratively evaluating identical mappings many times. The functional graph of a random mapping also involves iteratively evaluating the mapping. These attacks essentially exploit properties of the functional graph. We map the utilization space of those properties from numerous proposed known attacks, draw a comparison among classes of attacks about their advantages and limitations. We provide a systematic exposition of concepts of cycles, deep-iterate images, collisions and their roles in cryptanalysis of iterated hash constructions. We identify the inherent relationship between these concepts, such that case-by-case theories about them can be unified into one knowledge system, that is, theories on the functional graph of random mappings. We show that the properties of the cycle search algorithm, the chain evaluation algorithm and the collision search algorithm can be described based on statistic results on the functional graph. Thereby, we can provide different viewpoints to support previous beliefs on individual knowledge. In that, we invite more sophisticated analysis of the functional graph of random mappings and more future exploitations of its properties in cryptanalysis.

Program Committees

FSE 2023
FSE 2022
Asiacrypt 2021
FSE 2020
Asiacrypt 2020
Asiacrypt 2019