International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Paper: Human-readable Proof of the Related-Key Security of AES-128

Khoongming Khoo , DSO National Laboratories
Eugene Lee , Raffles Institution
Thomas Peyrin , School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, ; School of Computer Science and Engineering, ; Temasek Laboratories, Nanyang Technological University
Siang Meng Sim , Nanyang Technological University
DOI: 10.13154/tosc.v2017.i2.59-83
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Abstract: The related-key model is now considered an important scenario for block cipher security and many schemes were broken in this model, even AES-192 and AES-256. Recently were introduced efficient computer-based search tools that can produce the best possible related-key truncated differential paths for AES. However, one has to trust the implementation of these tools and they do not provide any meaningful information on how to design a good key schedule, which remains a challenge for the community as of today. We provide in this article the first human-readable proof on the minimal number of active Sboxes in the related-key model for AES-128, without any help from a computer. More precisely, we show that any related-key differential path for AES-128 will respectively contain at least 0, 1, 3 and 9 active Sboxes for 1, 2, 3 and 4 rounds. Our proof is tight, not trivial, and actually exhibits for the first time the interplay between the key state and the internal state of an AES-like block cipher with an AES-like key schedule. As application example, we leverage our proofs to propose a new key schedule, that is not only faster (a simple permutation on the byte positions) but also ensures a higher number of active Sboxes than AES-128’s key schedule. We believe this is an important step towards a good understanding of efficient and secure key schedule designs.
  title={Human-readable Proof of the Related-Key Security of AES-128},
  journal={IACR Trans. Symmetric Cryptol.},
  publisher={Ruhr-Universität Bochum},
  volume={2017, Issue 2},
  author={Khoongming Khoo and Eugene Lee and Thomas Peyrin and Siang Meng Sim},