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Date: Thu, 23 Jul 2015 02:45:53 +0200
From: Solar Designer <>
Cc: Dmitry Khovratovich <>
Subject: Re: [PHC] Argon2 improvement thread

On Wed, Jul 22, 2015 at 09:12:41PM +0000, Jean-Philippe Aumasson wrote:
> There's been some additions to the document, mainly by Bill (thanks!)
> There's 3 main tweaks proposed to the algorithm:
> 1. blamka
> 2. maxform
> 3. non-linear indexing
> Point 3. looks like a no-brainer to me; any objection?

No objections from me.  It is a no-brainer to me as well, except that
obviously we need to review the actual change closely (like any other
change).  I think we should consider it tentatively accepted now.

> @Bill, Solar (and others): blamka and maxform, respectively in Argon2i and
> 2d, is that what you have in mind, of maxform in both?

I see two options:

A. "blamka and maxform, respectively in Argon2i and 2d".

B. MAXFORM in 2d, and a revision of MAXFORM (yet to be determined) in 2i.

I prefer option B, but it's more work.  If successful, it'd achieve
greater similarity between 2i and 2d (thus, smaller spec and code size
for 2i+2d combined) and greater security.

I don't see an easy way to use MAXFORM as-is for 2i, because MAXFORM is
normally meant to be used on password-dependent inputs and it involves
S-box lookups, thus contradicting 2i's intended cache-timing safety.

So we may try to come up with a revision where the S-box lookups are
omitted or replaced or made password-independent (with the MULs kept
password-dependent) for 2i.

Regarding option A, if we do keep BlaMka in 2i, it makes sense to keep
it in 2d as well for greater similarity between the two.  That's a
sub-option of option A.  I have no strong feelings on whether it's only
MAXFORM or MAXFORM + BlaMka in 2d.  But I feel that MAXFORM is required.

> @Dmitry: what do you think? any other proposal of improvement?

Yes, waiting to hear from Dmitry.

I'd like to contribute to the effort of putting MAXFORM in, as well as
trying to design a revision suitable for 2i.

> Let's keep collecting feedback and ideas about
> implementation/API/parameters/etc. We'll decide on those after we're done
> with the actual algorithm.

Yes.  In fact, I think most of those should be generic, not limited to
just Argon2.

BTW, should we possibly call the final tweaked PHC winner something
other than Argon2?  Maybe Argon3?  Or an entirely new name the designers
might suggest?


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