[Resource Topic] 2006/168: How Fast can be Algebraic Attacks on Block Ciphers?

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How Fast can be Algebraic Attacks on Block Ciphers ?

Authors: Nicolas T. Courtois


In this paper we give a specification of a new block cipherthat can be called the Courtois Toy Cipher (CTC).It is quite simple, and yet very much like any other known block cipher. If the parameters are large enough, it should evidently besecure against all known attack methods.However, we are not proposing a new method for encrypting sensitive data, but rather a research tool that should allow us (and other researchers) to experiment with algebraic attacks on block ciphersand obtain interesting results using a PC with reasonable quantity of RAM. For this reason the S-box of this cipher has only 3-bits,which is quite small.Ciphers with very small S-boxes are believed quite secure,for example the Serpent S-box has only 4 bits,and in DES all the S-boxes have 4 output bits.The AES S-box is not quite as small but can be described(in many ways) by a very small systems of equationswith only a few monomials (and this fact can also be exploited in algebraic cryptanalysis).We believe that results on algebraic cryptanalysis of this cipherwill have very deep implications for the security of ciphers in general.

ePrint: https://eprint.iacr.org/2006/168

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