International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


New Attacks on LowMC Using Partial Sets in the Single-Data Setting

Subhadeep Banik , Universita della Svizzera Italiana
Andrea Caforio , Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
Serge Vaudenay , Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
DOI: 10.62056/ayzojbkrz
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The LowMC family of block ciphers was proposed by Albrecht et al. in Eurocrypt 2015, specifically targeting adoption in FHE and MPC applications due to its low multiplicative complexity. The construction operates a 3-bit quadratic S-box as the sole non-linear transformation in the algorithm. In contrast, both the linear layer and round key generation are achieved through multiplications of full rank matrices over GF(2). The cipher is instantiable using a diverse set of default configurations, some of which have partial non-linear layers i.e., in which the S-boxes are not applied over the entire internal state of the cipher.

The significance of cryptanalysing LowMC was elevated by its inclusion into the NIST PQC digital signature scheme PICNIC in which a successful key recovery using a single plaintext/ciphertext pair is akin to retrieving the secret signing key. The current state-of-the-art attack in this setting is due to Dinur at Eurocrypt 2021, in which a novel way of enumerating roots of a Boolean system of equation is morphed into a key-recovery procedure that undercuts an ordinary exhaustive search in terms of time complexity for the variants of the cipher up to five rounds.

In this work, we demonstrate that this technique can efficiently be enriched with a specific linearization strategy that reduces the algebraic degree of the non-linear layer as put forward by Banik et al. at IACR ToSC 2020(4). This amalgamation yields new attacks on certain instances of LowMC up to seven rounds.

  title={New Attacks on LowMC Using Partial Sets in the Single-Data Setting},
  publisher={International Association for Cryptologic Research},
  volume={1, Issue 1},
  author={Subhadeep Banik and Andrea Caforio and Serge Vaudenay},