Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2016/091

On the Security of the Algebraic Eraser Tag Authentication Protocol

Simon R.~Blackburn and M.J.B.~Robshaw

Abstract: The Algebraic Eraser has been gaining prominence as SecureRF, the company commercializing the algorithm, increases its marketing reach. The scheme is claimed to be well-suited to IoT applications but a lack of detail in available documentation has hampered peer-review. Recently more details of the system have emerged after a tag authentication protocol built using the Algebraic Eraser was proposed for standardization in ISO/IEC SC31 and SecureRF provided an open public description of the protocol. In this paper we describe a range of attacks on this protocol that include very efficient and practical tag impersonation as well as partial, and total, tag secret key recovery. Most of these results have been practically verified, they contrast with the 80-bit security that is claimed for the protocol, and they emphasize the importance of independent public review for any cryptographic proposal.

Category / Keywords: cryptographic protocols / Algebraic Eraser, cryptanalysis, tag authentication, IoT

Original Publication (with minor differences): ACNS 2016

Date: received 2 Feb 2016, last revised 2 Jun 2016

Contact author: s blackburn at rhul ac uk

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Note: Final author version. Accepted for ACNS

Version: 20160602:135047 (All versions of this report)

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