Paper 2020/1402

SKINNY with Scalpel - Comparing Tools for Differential Analysis

Stéphanie Delaune, Patrick Derbez, Paul Huynh, Marine Minier, Victor Mollimard, and Charles Prud'homme


Evaluating resistance of ciphers against differential cryptanalysis is essential to define the number of rounds of new designs and to mount attacks derived from differential cryptanalysis. In this paper, we compare existing automatic tools to find the best differential characteristic on the SKINNY block cipher. As usually done in the literature, we split this search in two stages denoted by Step 1 and Step 2. In Step 1, each difference variable is abstracted with a Boolean variable and we search for the value that minimizes the trail weight, whereas Step 2 tries to instantiate each difference value while maximizing the overall differential characteristic probability. We model Step 1 using a MILP tool, a SAT tool, an ad-hoc method and a CP tool based on the Choco-solver library and provide performance results. Step 2 is modeled using the Choco-solver as it seems to outperform all previous methods on this stage. Notably, for SKINNY-128 in the SK model and for 13 rounds, we retrieve the results of Abdelkhalek et al. within a few seconds (to compare with 16 days) and we provide, for the first time, the best differential related-tweakey characteristic up to respectively 14 and 12 rounds for the TK1 and TK2 models.

Available format(s)
Secret-key cryptography
Publication info
Preprint. MINOR revision.
Contact author(s)
marine minier @ loria fr
2020-11-15: received
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Stéphanie Delaune and Patrick Derbez and Paul Huynh and Marine Minier and Victor Mollimard and Charles Prud'homme},
      title = {SKINNY with Scalpel - Comparing Tools for Differential Analysis},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2020/1402},
      year = {2020},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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