Paper 2022/140

On the Related-Key Attack Security of Authenticated Encryption Schemes

Sebastian Faust, Juliane Krämer, Maximilian Orlt, and Patrick Struck


Related-key attacks (RKA) are powerful cryptanalytic attacks, where the adversary can tamper with the secret key of a cryptographic scheme. Since their invention, RKA security has been an important design goal in cryptography, and various works aim at designing cryptographic primitives that offer protection against related-key attacks. At EUROCRYPT'03, Bellare and Kohno introduced the first formal treatment of related-key attacks focusing on pseudorandom functions and permutations. This was later extended to cover other primitives such as signatures and public key encryption schemes, but until now, a comprehensive formal security analysis of authenticated encryption schemes with associated data (AEAD) in the RKA setting has been missing. The main contribution of our work is to close this gap for the relevant class of nonce-based AEAD schemes. To this end, we revisit the common approach to construct AEAD from encryption and message authentication. We extend the traditional security notion of AEAD to the RKA setting and consider an adversary that can tamper with the key $K_e$ and $K_m$ of the underlying encryption and MAC, respectively. We study two security models. In our weak setting, we require that tampering will change both $K_e$ and $K_m$, while in our strong setting, tampering can be arbitrary, i.e., only one key might be affected. We then study the security of the standard composition methods by analysing the nonce-based AEAD schemes N1 (Encrypt-and-MAC), N2 (Encrypt-then-MAC), and N3 (MAC-then-Encrypt) due to Namprempre, Rogaway, and Shrimpton (EUROCRYPT'03). We show that these schemes are weakly RKA secure, while they can be broken under a strong related-key attack. Finally, based on the N3 construction, we give a novel AEAD scheme that achieves our stronger notion.

Available format(s)
Secret-key cryptography
Publication info
Preprint. MINOR revision.
Contact author(s)
sebastian faust @ tu-darmstadt de
juliane kraemer @ ur de
maximilian orlt @ tu-darmstadt de
patrick struck @ ur de
2022-02-09: received
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Sebastian Faust and Juliane Krämer and Maximilian Orlt and Patrick Struck},
      title = {On the Related-Key Attack Security of Authenticated Encryption Schemes},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2022/140},
      year = {2022},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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