Paper 2016/502

Key Recovery Attack against 2.5-round pi-Cipher

Christina Boura, Avik Chakraborti, Gaëtan Leurent, Goutam Paul, Dhiman Saha, Hadi Soleimany, and Valentin Suder


In this paper, we propose a guess and determine attack against some variants of the π-Cipher family of authenticated ciphers. This family of ciphers is a second-round candidate of the CAESAR competition. More precisely, we show a key recovery attack with time complexity little higher than 24^ω, and low data complexity, against variants of the cipher with ω-bit words, when the internal permutation is reduced to 2.5 rounds. In particular, this gives an attack with time complexity 2^72 against the variant π16-Cipher096 (using 16-bit words) reduced to 2.5 rounds, while the authors claim 96 bits of security with 3 rounds in their second-round submission. Therefore, the security margin for this variant of π-Cipher is very limited. The attack can also be applied to lightweight variants that are not included in the CAESAR proposal, and use only two rounds. The lightweight variants π16-Cipher096 and π16-Cipher128 claim 96 bits and 128 bits of security respectively, but our attack can break the full 2 rounds with complexity 2^72. Finally, the attack can be applied to reduced versions of two more variants of π-Cipher that were proposed in the first-round submission with 4 rounds: π16-Cipher128 (using 16-bit words) and π32-Cipher256 (using 32-bit words). The attack on 2.5 rounds has complexity 2^72 and 2^137 respectively, while the security claim for 4 rounds are 128 bits and 256 bits of security.

Available format(s)
Secret-key cryptography
Publication info
Published by the IACR in Fse 2016
Contact author(s)
xristina mpoura @ gmail com
2016-05-23: received
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Christina Boura and Avik Chakraborti and Gaëtan Leurent and Goutam Paul and Dhiman Saha and Hadi Soleimany and Valentin Suder},
      title = {Key Recovery Attack against 2.5-round pi-Cipher},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2016/502},
      year = {2016},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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