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Optimization and Guess-then-Solve Attacks in Cryptanalysis

Song, Guangyan; (2018) Optimization and Guess-then-Solve Attacks in Cryptanalysis. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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In this thesis we study two major topics in cryptanalysis and optimization: software algebraic cryptanalysis and elliptic curve optimizations in cryptanalysis. The idea of algebraic cryptanalysis is to model a cipher by a Multivariate Quadratic (MQ) equation system. Solving MQ is an NP-hard problem. However, NP-hard problems have a point of phase transition where the problems become easy to solve. This thesis explores different optimizations to make solving algebraic cryptanalysis problems easier. We first worked on guessing a well-chosen number of key bits, a specific optimization problem leading to guess-then-solve attacks on GOST cipher. In addition to attacks, we propose two new security metrics of contradiction immunity and SAT immunity applicable to any cipher. These optimizations play a pivotal role in recent highly competitive results on full GOST. This and another cipher Simon, which we cryptanalyzed were submitted to ISO to become a global encryption standard which is the reason why we study the security of these ciphers in a lot of detail. Another optimization direction is to use well-selected data in conjunction with Plaintext/Ciphertext pairs following a truncated differential property. These allow to supplement an algebraic attack with extra equations and reduce solving time. This was a key innovation in our algebraic cryptanalysis work on NSA block cipher Simon and we could break up to 10 rounds of Simon64/128. The second major direction in our work is to inspect, analyse and predict the behaviour of ElimLin attack the complexity of which is very poorly understood, at a level of detail never seen before. Our aim is to extrapolate and discover the limits of such attacks, and go beyond with several types of concrete improvement. Finally, we have studied some optimization problems in elliptic curves which also deal with polynomial arithmetic over finite fields. We have studied existing implementations of the secp256k1 elliptic curve which is used in many popular cryptocurrency systems such as Bitcoin and we introduce an optimized attack on Bitcoin brain wallets and improved the state of art attack by 2.5 times.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Optimization and Guess-then-Solve Attacks in Cryptanalysis
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author [year]. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10063422
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