Crypto guru thinks outside the box with Cube attack

Stream ciphers easily split (maybe)

Seven Steps to Software Security

Senior cryptologist Adi Shamir is developing a new attack for rooting out potential weaknesses in encryption ciphers, dubbed the Cube Attack.

Shamir, the S in RSA, explained at a talk at the Crypto2008 conference earlier this month that the attack methodology would succeed against cypher schemes providing that they can be represented by "low-degree polynomial equations"*. If that sounds as complex as working out the meaning of the numbers used to signify the location of rooms and whether they are booby-trapped in the cult film Cube, then you are on the right page.

Block ciphers - anything ranging from AES to DES - are too complex for the approach to work, but functions such as linear feedback shift register (LFSR) schemes might be attacked using the approach, cryptography guru Bruce Schneier writes. That means functions such as pseudo-random number generators used in stream ciphers might be unpicked, creating a new and possibly more powerful technique for decrypting the forms of encryption used by GSM mobile phone and Bluetooth devices, for example.

Attack techniques that target the weaknesses of cryptographic systems on systems constrained to using less robust encryption because of either size or power limitations already exist but the Cube technique is potentially faster and more elegant.

Shamir gave only a tantalizing glimpse of his work at Crypto2008 during a talk entitled How to solve it: New Techniques in Algebraic Cryptanalysis.

Shamir and co-author plan to present a full treatment of the work at the Eurocrypt 2009 conference in Germany next April. ®

* A very simple low-order polynomial equation would be something like ƒ(x) = x2 - 2x.

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story


Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.