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Date: Tue, 2 Sep 2014 02:28:32 -0400
From: Peregrine <peregrinebf@...il.com>
To: discussions@...sword-hashing.net
Subject: Re: [PHC] A review per day - Schvrch

On Mon, Sep 1, 2014 at 11:25 PM, Rade Vuckovac <rade.vuckovac@...il.com>
wrote:

>
>
> On Sat, Aug 30, 2014 at 7:10 AM, Bill Cox <waywardgeek@...hershed.org>
> wrote:
>
>> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
>> Hash: SHA1
>>
>> Since I do not expect a lot of Tortuga discussion, I'm moving on to
>> Schvrch.  Here's a link to the April discussion:
>>
>> http://comments.gmane.org/gmane.comp.security.phc/1330
>>
>> Here's my notes on Schvrch:
>>
>> - - Weak paper and code.  I do not believe much effort went into Schvrch.
>> - - The time cost has weak average memory*time because only one 2KiB
>> block is used while applying time cost.
>> - - No cryptographic primitives are applied, yet the mixing function
>> seems weak.
>> - - The evolve function at end just XORs states together and complements
>> them, leaving each as a simple linear combination of the original.
>> - - The author seems to have the mistaken impresion that just XORing
>> data over and over will mix it well.
>>
>> I don't think there's much reason to spend a lot of time discussing
>> this version of Schvrch.  So... I'll post one more today...
>>
>> Bill
>> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE-----
>> Version: GnuPG v1
>>
>> iQIcBAEBAgAGBQJUAOw4AAoJEAcQZQdOpZUZ0B0P/RIqxqQHHPXpo7Z69yUP+5y9
>> C3vKgifAA30SELrKOaZgMMGUZeXfnWCTrFI5e/pHydpUkLHZ24vL5qKe7+yUc+ic
>> gkxkl/V88lNk9szLhNfErdbfh56UgaQtWD12S+lMCpMpl5q0G39ebiqTF2B+jaMX
>> mAVoFiFEZC6Zs7128QZYo16Mof8/9SNaucPcFAsOxhuF8ox8KYIVYlhuRukbIkCy
>> A0wQ4m5u5OqFMARqz9663tENpGrrZ8dZiVoEJZiYjoFQuHOI42qYqRHyXjPqRlrM
>> WHTQVanz/Qs7XEUeoTEZx9uyMrwWP9M+kdiHWrFutJ8m0hiOPXkr8HICvbAqM4Io
>> 46j7Yfj0ZS5ReR65rlaGBgcXIXIp4OBv5WboQQhBJFKA9qfeuRbUr2bD9LvmsxG9
>> JmYXtbwW+LfyJug9uJKfkPVxb5k+THSy701KVaAklpOFylTycqrssSzHJ3eto78U
>> BzYR4ieZY92yeljeQCOMGbZvUPLUWscWuPBMsFm/r4BNsAaEXreuciIBJI0Cd0fS
>> diR3wT/NZr/+zijIPfh8dLI2LfFQcR+eIsBcfSGvJDANOPCqma/K0dUOb6Np3JdP
>> DCOk6gneSRvCef+NnyP0P7kT8UBdsOww/sgsMU5pkdGF99fZ6GI4qJ+VefXdaT3M
>> Y7/IZyJmHml3mGVJEdeA
>> =yJe+
>> -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
>>
> “Weak paper and code. I do not believe much effort went into Schvrch.”
>
> The paper in question is published here
> http://iaeng.org/publication/WCE2014/WCE2014_pp134-139.pdf (peer reviewed
> conference paper).
>
> “The time cost has weak average memory*time because only one 2KiB block is
> used while applying time cost.”
>
> The time cost argument is as it should be, for the time algorithm
> hardening only. The memory cost argument is independent on the time cost
> argument and deals with memory hardening as it is expected.
>
> “No cryptographic primitives are applied, yet the mixing function seems
> weak.”
>
> Could not be more wrong. It was tried in the April discussion to point
> some crypto analysis relevant to the Schvrch submission. One of them is
> here http://dakhilalian.iut.ac.ir/pdff/C26.pdf
>
> Here is the paper abstract
>
> MAG is a synchronous stream cipher designed by Vuckovac submitted to the
> eSTREAM project. Vuckovac also proposed two modified versions of MAG to
> avoid the distinguishing attack on the first version of MAG presented by
> Fischer. In this paper we show that, changing the Fischer’s attack we can
> apply it to one of the modified versions of MAG. The modified attack
> requires only 514 successive bytes of known keystream and 5 xor and 2
> comparison operations between 16 bit words. In addition, we show that
> distinguishing and key recovery attack proposed by Simpson and Henricksen
> on all versions of MAG is feasible just by considering an assumption on
> initialization of MAG that simplifies this step so much. Therefore, their
> attack cannot be performed in general.
>
> From there it is obvious that only the Fischer’s attack is relevant to MAG
> scheme and it cannot be applied to the every proposed modification.
>
> It should be noted that MAG and Schvrch share the same primitives and it
> is believed that only relevant attack so far (the Fischer’s attack above)
> is irrelevant to the Schvrch.
>
> “The evolve function at end just XORs states together and complements
> them, leaving each as a simple linear combination of the original. The
> author seems to have the mistaken impresion that just XORing data over and
> over will mix it well.”
>
> The very last program listing in Appendix (Schvrch submission) is a random
> number generator which just “XORs states together and complements them” and
> just do “XORing data over and over” and still produces descent random
> streams.
>
> However that does not mean it is secure. If the submission paper is read /
> understood, then it will be clear that the branching programing structure
> is a force behind “mix it well”. The toy password hash scheme using the
> same security paradigm as Schvrch may serve as an example.
>
> Let n be a 512 bit string (salt and password combo). Treat n as a positive
> integer. Apply (3n+1)/2 if n is odd else do n/2. The result is new n.
> Repeat step above 256 times to the every new n created to acquire a 256 bit
> parity string (recording 1 when new n is odd and 0 when new n is even).
> Discard first 128 bits and use the remaining 128 bits as the hash of n
> (arguably the tiniest secure password hashing scheme around).
>
> The paper has 2 lines of argumentation of why above is perfectly secure:
>
> 1.      While toy algorithm is sort of described that does not mean that
> function description (in theoretical sense) is there. Without knowledge of
> the input the toy function can be composed in 2^256 ways and the
> composition depends entirely on the input. There is the case mentioned in
> random oracle theory when input complexity is on the par with function
> description complexity. While this case guaranties non-correlation between
> function instances (the randomness) it is considered as impractical
> exercise (requires gigantic table with records of fair coin flips).The toy
> algorithm is practical when input (or output) is known. But with partial
> output (the toy case) the only way to match input is exhaustive search
> because only complete input or output can define function composition.
>
> 2.      If there is possibility of finding some pattern / correlation
> between instances when above algorithm is run, then that possibility is a
> reduction of 2^256 complexity mentioned above. In effect it will mean that
> branching can be reduced by combination of the sequence and the looping
> algorithm structures. That runs against structural programming theorem
> claiming branching as a basic structure. Simply put, it is impossible to
> make program for checking inputs of 3n+1 problem without using the
> branching structure or some sort of exhaustive search.
>
> “I don't think there's much reason to spend a lot of time discussing this
> version of Schvrch.”
>
> The last statement and entire Mr Cox’s post is maybe fine as a blog
> material where expressing opinions without substantiating them is a norm.
> The frequency of that kind of posting, here, is not helpful either.
>
> Rade
>
> > The last statement and entire Mr Cox’s post is maybe fine as a blog
material where expressing opinions without substantiating them is a norm.
The frequency of that kind of posting, here, is not helpful either.

I'm just an undergrad computer engineering student focusing on security, so
I can't weigh in on any of the the actual crypto with much authority. I'll
only catch the most blatant of errors. That said, seeing these analyses and
defenses is quite educational. Even if a system is quite weak there is
educational value in showing why it is weak. That's not the primary purpose
of this list, or of this competition, but getting programmers and engineers
to code more securely is a goal of many people here. There are many
"gotchas" that must be learned, and it's hard to learn what they are by
looking only at secure code. Seeing where others made mistakes (including
mistakes in analysis) will surely help me avoid them in the future. Keeping
the style professional will surely reflect better upon the contest in the
future.

Carl 'Sai' Mitchell

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