Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2014/363

Forging Attacks on two Authenticated Encryptions COBRA and POET

Mridul Nandi

Abstract: In FSE 2014, an authenticated encryption mode COBRA [4], based on pseudorandom permutation (PRP) blockcipher, and POET [3], based on Almost XOR-Universal (AXU) hash and strong pseudorandom permutation (SPRP), were proposed. Few weeks later, COBRA mode and a simple variant of the original proposal of POET (due to a forging attack [13] on the original proposal) with AES as an underlying blockcipher, were submitted in CAESAR, a competition [1] of authenticated encryption (AE). In this paper we show a forging attack on the mode COBRA based on any n-bit blockcipher. Our attack on COBRA requires about O(n) queries with success probability about 1/2. This disproves the claim proved in FSE 2014 paper. We also show both privacy and forging attack on the parallel version of POET, denoted POET-m. In case of the modes POET or POE (the underlying modes for encryption), we show one query distinguishing attack when we instantiate the underlying AXU-hash function with some other AXU hash function, namely uniform random involution. Thus, our result violates the designer's main claim (Theorem 8.1 in [1]). However, the attacks can not be extended directly for the specific choices of existing submitted versions to the CAESAR competition.

Category / Keywords: secret-key cryptography / Authenticated Encryption, COBRA, POET, Distinguishing and Forging Attack.

Date: received 24 May 2014, last revised 26 May 2014

Contact author: mridul nandi at gmail com

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Note: The original forging attack on POET-m is not correct. So we have revised in this version.

Version: 20140526:083352 (All versions of this report)

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