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Date: Tue, 4 Mar 2014 15:21:55 -0500
From: Bill Cox <>
Subject: Implemented Solar's TMTO resistance

I have struggled with getting decent TMTO resistance in my algorithm
the way Solar Designer does.  I think I've finally done it.  The issue
is that if you run with multiple threads, each thread needs it's own
block of memory or performance suffers.  This creates a simple TMTO
attack: simply run the threads sequentially, using 1/N memory for N

What I do now is take my first cache-timing resistant loop and my
second unpredictable addressing loop, and break them up into "slices".
 I run all the threads in parallel for each slice, and then join them.
 Each thread knows it can access memory from it's own current slice
that it is generating, or data from any thread from any previous
slice.  The result is that threads hash lots of data from each other,
making it hard to run without all the memory for all threads loaded at

Currently, I break memory into 16 slices, which seems to cause little
overhead.  There is a TMTO attack against the last slice, where an
attacker keeps 15/16ths of memory loaded, and then runs the last
threads in series, but it hurts his time*cost to do that.

Is this worth the additional complexity?  I'm having difficulty
deciding.  It didn't seem too bad.

Without it, the second loop accesses all the data from the 1st loop,
but nothing kept an attacker from running all the first loop threads
sequentially.  Again, it's not a way to lower time*memory cost, but
any flexibility for an attacker is bad for the defender.

What do you think?  Is computing hashed memory in "slices" a good thing?


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