Paper 2017/537

Information-theoretic Indistinguishability via the Chi-squared Method

Wei Dai, Viet Tung Hoang, and Stefano Tessaro


Proving tight bounds on information-theoretic indistinguishability is a central problem in symmetric cryptography. This paper introduces a new method for information-theoretic indistinguishability proofs, called ``the chi-squared method''. At its core, the method requires upper-bounds on the so-called $\chi^2$ divergence (due to Neyman and Pearson) between the output distributions of two systems being queries. The method morally resembles, yet also considerably simplifies, a previous approach proposed by Bellare and Impagliazzo (ePrint, 1999), while at the same time increasing its expressiveness and delivering tighter bounds. We showcase the chi-squared method on some examples. In particular: (1) We prove an optimal bound of $q/2^n$ for the XOR of two permutations, and our proof considerably simplifies previous approaches using the $H$-coefficient method, (2) we provide improved bounds for the recently proposed encrypted Davies-Meyer PRF construction by Cogliati and Seurin (CRYPTO '16), and (3) we give a tighter bound for the Swap-or-not cipher by Hoang, Morris, and Rogaway (CRYPTO '12).

Note: The proceeding version of this paper contains a glitch in the proof of the XOR construction, which is corrected in this version.

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Publication info
A minor revision of an IACR publication in CRYPTO 2017
Symmetric cryptographyinformation-theoretic indistinguishabilityprovable security
Contact author(s)
hviettung @ gmail com
2019-11-16: last of 5 revisions
2017-06-08: received
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      author = {Wei Dai and Viet Tung Hoang and Stefano Tessaro},
      title = {Information-theoretic Indistinguishability via the Chi-squared   Method},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2017/537},
      year = {2017},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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