Sieve-in-the-Middle: Improved MITM Attacks

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This paper presents a new generic technique, named sieve-in-the-middle, which improves meet-in-the-middle attacks in the sense that it provides an attack on a higher number of rounds. Instead of selecting the key candidates by searching for a collision in an intermediate state which can be computed forwards and backwards, we look for the existence of valid transitions through some middle sbox. Combining this technique with short bicliques allows to freely add one or two more rounds with the same time complexity. Moreover, when the key size of the cipher is larger than its block size, we show how to build the bicliques by an improved technique which does not require any additional data (on the contrary to previous biclique attacks). These techniques apply to PRESENT, DES, PRINCE and AES, improving the previously known results on these four ciphers. In particular, our attack on PRINCE applies to 8 rounds (out of 12), instead of 6 in the previous cryptanalyses. Some results are also given for theoretically estimating the sieving probability provided by some inputs and outputs of a given sbox.

Partially supported by the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche through the BLOC project under Contract ANR-11-INS-011.