September 23, 2021

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Cube Attacks on Round-Reduced TinyJAMBU, by Wil Liam Teng and Iftekhar Salam and Wei-Chuen Yau and Josef Pieprzyk and Raphaël C.-W. Phan

Lightweight cryptography has recently gained importance as the number of Internet of things (IoT) devices connected to Internet grows. Its main goal is to provide cryptographic algorithms that can be run efficiently in resource-limited environments such as IoT. To meet the challenge, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced
the Lightweight Cryptography (LWC) project. One of the finalists of the project is the TinyJAMBU cipher.

This work evaluates the security of the cipher. The tool used for the evaluation is the cube attack. We present five cube attacks DA1 – DA5. The first two attacks (DA1 and DA2) are launched against the initialisation phase of the cipher. The best result achieved for the attacks is a distinguisher for a 18-bit cube, where the cipher variant consists of the full initialisation phase together with 437 rounds of the encryption phase. The attacks DA3 – DA5 present a collection of distinguishers up to 437 encryption rounds, whose 32-bit cubes are chosen from the plaintext, nonce, or associated data bits. The results are confirmed experimentally. A conclusion from the work is that TinyJAMBU has a better security margin against cube attacks than
claimed by the designers.