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Section: New Results

Block cipher design and analysis

Block ciphers are one of the most basic cryptographic primitives, yet block cipher analysis is still a major research topic. In recent years, the community also shifted focus to the more general setting of authenticated encryption, where one specifies an (set of) algorithm(s) providing both encryption and authentication for messages of arbitrary length. A major current event in that direction is the CAESAR academic competition, which aims to select a portfolio of good algorithms.

During this year, we helped to improve the state of the art in block cipher research in several ways:

  • P. Karpman found a very efficient related-key attack on the CAESAR candidate Prøst-OTR. A related-key model is very generous to the attacker, but the attack in this case can be run instantaneously. The corresponding paper was published at ISC 2015 [23]

  • B. Minaud, P. Derbez, P.-A. Fouque and P. Karpman developed a family of attacks that breaks all the remaining unbroken instances of the ASASA construction, that was presented at ASIACRYPT 2014. Using algebraic properties of the ciphers, for each type of instance, the attack allows to recover an algorithm equivalent to the secret key in near-practical time. This applies to a multivariate public-key scheme, a classical block cipher and small block ciphers used in white-box constructions. The corresponding paper was published at ASIACRYPT 2015 and was honoured as one of the three best papers of the conference [25] .

  • P. Karpman developed a compact 8-bit S-box with branch number three, which can be used as a basis to construct a lightweight block cipher particularly efficient on 8-bit microcontrollers. The corresponding paper is currently under review for FSE 2016.