Paper 2023/1667

Unleashing the Power of Differential Fault Attacks on QARMAv2

Soumya Sahoo, Indian Institute of Technology Madras
Debasmita Chakraborty, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, Graz University of Technology
Santanu Sarkar, Indian Institute of Technology Madras

QARMAv2 represents a family of lightweight block ciphers introduced in ToSC 2023. This new iteration, QARMAv2, is an evolution of the original QARMA design, specifically constructed to accommodate more extended tweak values while simultaneously enhancing security measures. This family of ciphers is available in two distinct versions, referred to as QARMAv2-$b$-$s$, where ‘$b$’ signifies the block length, with options for both 64-bit and 128-bit blocks, and ‘$c$’ signifies the key length. In this paper, for the first time, we present differential fault analysis (DFA) of all the QARMAv2 variants- QARMAv2-64, and QARMAv2-128 by introducing an approach to utilize the fault propagation patterns at the nibble level, with the goal of identifying relevant faulty ciphertexts and vulnerable fault positions. This technique highlights a substantial security risk for the practical implementation of QARMAv2. By strategically introducing six random nibble faults into the input of the $(r − 1)$-th and $(r − 2)$-th backward rounds within the $r$-round QARMAv2-64, our attack achieves a significant reduction in the secret key space, diminishing it from the expansive $2^{128}$ to a significantly more smaller set of size $2^{32}$. Additionally, when targeting QARMAv2-128-128, it demands the introduction of six random nibble faults to effectively reduce the secret key space from $2^{128}$ to a remarkably reduced $2^{24}$. To conclude, we also explore the potential extension of our methods to conduct DFA on various other iterations and adaptations of the QARMAv2 cryptographic scheme. To the best of our knowledge, this marks the first instance of a differential fault attack targeting the QARMAv2 tweakable block cipher family, signifying an important direction in cryptographic analysis.

Available format(s)
Attacks and cryptanalysis
Publication info
Tweakable block cipherDifferential fault attackNibble faultQARMAv2
Contact author(s)
soumyasahoo078 @ gmail com
debasmitachakraborty1 @ gmail com
sarkar santanu bir1 @ gmail com
2023-10-30: approved
2023-10-27: received
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      author = {Soumya Sahoo and Debasmita Chakraborty and Santanu Sarkar},
      title = {Unleashing the Power of Differential Fault Attacks on QARMAv2},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2023/1667},
      year = {2023},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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