Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2021/1537

PNB-based Differential Cryptanalysis of ChaCha Stream Cipher

Shotaro Miyashita and Ryoma Ito and Atsuko Miyaji

Abstract: In this study, we focus on the differential cryptanalysis of the ChaCha stream cipher. In the conventional approach, an adversary first searches for the input/output differential pair with the best differential bias and then analyzes the probabilistic neutral bits (PNB) in detail based on the obtained input/output differential pair. However, although time and data complexities for the attack can be estimated by the differential bias and PNB obtained in this approach, their combination does not always represent the best. In addition, a comprehensive analysis of the PNB was not provided in existing studies; they have not clarified the upper bounds of the number of rounds required for the differential attack based on the PNB to be successful. To solve these problems, we proposed a PNB-based differential attack on the reduced-round ChaCha by first comprehensively analyzing the PNB at all output differential bit positions and then searching for the input/output differential pair with the best differential bias based on the obtained PNB. By comprehensively analyzing the PNB, we clarified that an upper bound of the number of rounds required for the PNB-based differential attack to be successful was 7.25 rounds. As a result, the proposed attack can work on the 7.25-round ChaCha with time and data complexities of \(2^{255.62}\) and \(2^{37.49}\), respectively. Further, using the existing differential bias presented by Coutinho and Neto at EUROCRYPT 2021, we further improved the attack on the 7.25-round ChaCha with time and data complexities of \(2^{244.22}\) and \(2^{69.14}\), respectively. The best existing attack on ChaCha, proposed by Coutinho and Neto at EUROCRYPT 2021, works on up to 7 rounds with time and data complexities of \(2^{228.51}\) and \(2^{80.51}\), respectively. Therefore, we improved the best existing attack on the reduced-round ChaCha. We believe that this study will be the first step towards an attack on more rounds of ChaCha, e.g., the 8-round ChaCha.

Category / Keywords: secret-key cryptography / Stream Cipher, ChaCha, Differential Cryptanalysis, PNB

Date: received 21 Nov 2021

Contact author: miyashita at cy2sec comm eng osaka-u ac jp, itorym at nict go jp, miyaji at comm eng osaka-u ac jp

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Version: 20211122:113215 (All versions of this report)

Short URL: ia.cr/2021/1537


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