Paper 2020/1523

Revisiting the Security of DbHtS MACs: Beyond-Birthday-Bound in the Multi-User Setting

Yaobin Shen, Lei Wang, Dawu Gu, and Jian Weng


Double-block Hash-then-Sum (DbHtS) MACs are a class of MACs that aim for achieving beyond-birthday-bound security, including SUM-ECBC, PMAC\_Plus, 3kf9 and LightMAC_Plus. Recently Datta et al. (FSE'19), and then Kim et al. (Eurocrypt'20) prove that DbHtS constructions are secure beyond the birthday bound in the single-user setting. However, by a generic reduction, their results degrade to (or even worse than) the birthday bound in the multi-user setting. In this work, we revisit the security of DbHtS MACs in the multi-user setting. We propose a generic framework to prove beyond-birthday-bound security for DbHtS constructions. We demonstrate the usability of this framework with applications to key-reduced variants of DbHtS MACs, including 2k-SUM-ECBC, 2k-PMAC_Plus and 2k-LightMAC_Plus. Our results show that the security of these constructions will not degrade as the number of users grows. On the other hand, our results also indicate that these constructions are secure beyond the birthday bound in both single-user and multi-user setting without additional domain separation, which is used in the prior work to simplify the analysis. Moreover, we find a critical flaw in 2kf9, which is proved to be secure beyond the birthday bound by Datta et al. (FSE'19). We can successfully forge a tag with probability 1 without making any queries. We go further to show attacks with birthday-bound complexity on several variants of 2kf9.

Note: fixed a flaw in the calculation of two bad conditions, included two missing conditions.

Available format(s)
Secret-key cryptography
Publication info
A minor revision of an IACR publication in CRYPTO 2021
Message authentication codesBeyond-birthday-bound securityMulti-user security
Contact author(s)
yaobins180 @ gmail com
2022-04-02: last of 4 revisions
2020-12-08: received
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Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Yaobin Shen and Lei Wang and Dawu Gu and Jian Weng},
      title = {Revisiting the Security of DbHtS MACs: Beyond-Birthday-Bound in the Multi-User Setting},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2020/1523},
      year = {2020},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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