Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2018/575

An Algorithmic Framework for the Generalized Birthday Problem

Itai Dinur

Abstract: The generalized birthday problem (GBP) was introduced by Wagner in 2002 and has shown to have many applications in cryptanalysis. In its typical variant, we are given access to a function $H:\{0,1\}^{\ell} \rightarrow \{0,1\}^n$ (whose specification depends on the underlying problem) and an integer $K>0$. The goal is to find $K$ distinct inputs to $H$ (denoted by $\{x_i\}_{i=1}^{K}$) such that $\sum_{i=1}^{K}H(x_i) = 0$. Wagner's K-tree algorithm solves the problem in time and memory complexities of about $N^{1/(\lfloor \log K \rfloor + 1)}$ (where $N= 2^n$). Two important open problems raised by Wagner were (1) devise efficient time-memory tradeoffs for GBP, and (2) reduce the complexity of the K-tree algorithm for $K$ which is not a power of 2.

In this paper, we make progress in both directions. First, we improve the best know GBP time-memory tradeoff curve (published by independently by Nikolić and Sasaki and also by Biryukov and Khovratovich) for all $K \geq 8$ from $T^2M^{\lfloor \log K \rfloor -1} = N$ to $T^{\lceil (\log K)/2 \rceil + 1 }M^{\lfloor (\log K)/2 \rfloor} = N$, applicable for a large range of parameters. For example, for $K = 8$ we improve the best previous tradeoff from $T^2M^2 = N$ to $T^3M = N$ and for $K = 32$ the improvement is from $T^2M^4 = N$ to $T^4M^2 = N$.

Next, we consider values of $K$ which are not powers of 2 and show that in many cases even more efficient time-memory tradeoff curves can be obtained. Most interestingly, for $K \in \{6,7,14,15\}$ we present algorithms with the same time complexities as the K-tree algorithm, but with significantly reduced memory complexities. In particular, for $K=6$ the K-tree algorithm achieves $T=M=N^{1/3}$, whereas we obtain $T=N^{1/3}$ and $M=N^{1/6}$. For $K=14$, Wagner's algorithm achieves $T=M=N^{1/4}$, while we obtain $T=N^{1/4}$ and $M=N^{1/8}$. This gives the first significant improvement over the K-tree algorithm for small $K$.

Finally, we optimize our techniques for several concrete GBP instances and show how to solve some of them with improved time and memory complexities compared to the state-of-the-art.

Our results are obtained using a framework that combines several algorithmic techniques such as variants of the Schroeppel-Shamir algorithm for solving knapsack problems (devised in works by Howgrave-Graham and Joux and by Becker, Coron and Joux) and dissection algorithms (published by Dinur, Dunkelman, Keller and Shamir). It then builds on these techniques to develop new GBP algorithms.

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Date: received 5 Jun 2018

Contact author: dinuri at cs bgu ac il

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Version: 20180606:185323 (All versions of this report)

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