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Date: Thu, 23 Apr 2015 13:25:25 +0300
From: Solar Designer <>
Subject: Re: [PHC] "Attack on the iterative compression function"


On Mon, Apr 20, 2015 at 11:36:09PM +0200, Dmitry Khovratovich wrote:
> I should add that C(q) is actually overestimated in the program.
> First, it does not take into account that the total number of blocks
> is limited (2^20 for 1 GB, for example).

How would this help in an attack?  Is it just in the way you wrote
below, or in some other way as well?

> Secondly, it counts every
> block as many times as it appears in different branches of the
> recomputation tree. A more clever tradeoff method would not recompute
> the same block too many times.

Would being so clever be practical?  I think usually not.  For small
computation and depth penalties, the frequency of such helpful block
"collisions" would be low, so they're probably not worth the extra logic
to detect them.  For high computation and depth penalties, detecting
these "collisions" would be costly, and keeping those blocks in memory
for longer than is necessary for the current branch could negate the
original TMTO's reduction in memory needs.

For example, doesn't the 1.6 billion computation penalty combined with
depth penalty of 86 for the 1/6 attack on yescrypt (not including the
BlockMix-level attack for this discussion) mean that way more than 2^20
blocks get recomputed (or checked for in other branches and transferred
from there, as you suggest) per each iteration of the SMix[12] loops?
If so, trying to keep those recomputed blocks in memory during that one
iteration, in case they are needed by another branch of the tree, would
consume at least as much memory as the TMTO is trying to save.


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