Doctoral thesis (Dissertations and theses)
Cryptanalysis, Reverse-Engineering and Design of Symmetric Cryptographic Algorithms
Perrin, Léo Paul


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Keywords :
Cryptography; Lightweight; S-Box; Reverse-Engineering; Cryptanalysis
Abstract :
[en] In this thesis, I present the research I did with my co-authors on several aspects of symmetric cryptography from May 2013 to December 2016, that is, when I was a PhD student at the university of Luxembourg under the supervision of Alex Biryukov. My research has spanned three different areas of symmetric cryptography. In Part I of this thesis, I present my work on lightweight cryptography. This field of study investigates the cryptographic algorithms that are suitable for very constrained devices with little computing power such as RFID tags and small embedded processors such as those used in sensor networks. Many such algorithms have been proposed recently, as evidenced by the survey I co-authored on this topic. I present this survey along with attacks against three of those algorithms, namely GLUON, PRINCE and TWINE. I also introduce a new lightweight block cipher called SPARX which was designed using a new method to justify its security: the Long Trail Strategy. Part II is devoted to S-Box reverse-engineering, a field of study investigating the methods recovering the hidden structure or the design criteria used to build an S-Box. I co-invented several such methods: a statistical analysis of the differential and linear properties which was applied successfully to the S-Box of the NSA block cipher Skipjack, a structural attack against Feistel networks called the yoyo game and the TU-decomposition. This last technique allowed us to decompose the S-Box of the last Russian standard block cipher and hash function as well as the only known solution to the APN problem, a long-standing open question in mathematics. Finally, Part III presents a unifying view of several fields of symmetric cryptography by interpreting them as purposefully hard. Indeed, several cryptographic algorithms are designed so as to maximize the code size, RAM consumption or time taken by their implementations. By providing a unique framework describing all such design goals, we could design modes of operations for building any symmetric primitive with any form of hardness by combining secure cryptographic building blocks with simple functions with the desired form of hardness called plugs. Alex Biryukov and I also showed that it is possible to build plugs with an asymmetric hardness whereby the knowledge of a secret key allows the privileged user to bypass the hardness of the primitive.
Disciplines :
Computer science
Author, co-author :
Perrin, Léo Paul ;  University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Science, Technology and Communication (FSTC) > Computer Science and Communications Research Unit (CSC) ; University of Luxembourg > Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SNT) > CryptoLUX
Language :
Title :
Cryptanalysis, Reverse-Engineering and Design of Symmetric Cryptographic Algorithms
Defense date :
25 April 2017
Number of pages :
xvii, 368
Institution :
Unilu - University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Degree :
Docteur en Informatique
Promotor :
Jury member :
Gilbert, Henri
Leander, Gregor
Müller, Volker 
Focus Area :
Security, Reliability and Trust
FnR Project :
FNR4009992 - Applied Cryptography For The Internet Of Things, 2012 (01/07/2013-30/06/2016) - Alex Biryukov
Funders :
FNR - Fonds National de la Recherche [LU]
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since 17 May 2017


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