Parallel cryptanalysis

R.F. Niederhagen

Research output: ThesisPhd Thesis 1 (Research TU/e / Graduation TU/e)

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Most of today’s cryptographic primitives are based on computations that are hard to perform for a potential attacker but easy to perform for somebody who is in possession of some secret information, the key, that opens a back door in these hard computations and allows them to be solved in a small amount of time. To estimate the strength of a cryptographic primitive it is important to know how hard it is to perform the computation without knowledge of the secret back door and to get an understanding of how much money or time the attacker has to spend. Usually a cryptographic primitive allows the cryptographer to choose parameters that make an attack harder at the cost of making the computations using the secret key harder as well. Therefore designing a cryptographic primitive imposes the dilemma of choosing the parameters strong enough to resist an attack up to a certain cost while choosing them small enough to allow usage of the primitive in the real world, e.g. on small computing devices like smart phones. This thesis investigates three different attacks on particular cryptographic systems: Wagner’s generalized birthday attack is applied to the compression function of the hash function FSB. Pollard’s rho algorithm is used for attacking Certicom’s ECC Challenge ECC2K-130. The implementation of the XL algorithm has not been specialized for an attack on a specific cryptographic primitive but can be used for attacking some cryptographic primitives by solving multivariate quadratic systems. All three attacks are general attacks, i.e. they apply to various cryptographic systems; the implementations of Wagner’s generalized birthday attack and Pollard’s rho algorithm can be adapted for attacking other primitives than those given in this thesis. The three attacks have been implemented on different parallel architectures. XL has been parallelized using the Block Wiedemann algorithm on a NUMA system using OpenMP and on an Infiniband cluster using MPI. Wagner’s attack was performed on a distributed system of 8 multi-core nodes connected by an Ethernet network. The work on Pollard’s Rho algorithm is part of a large research collaboration with several research groups; the computations are embarrassingly parallel and are executed in a distributed fashion in several facilities with almost negligible communication cost. This dissertation presents implementations of the iteration function of Pollard’s Rho algorithm on Graphics Processing Units and on the Cell Broadband Engine.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Lange, Tanja, Promotor
  • Bernstein, Daniel, Promotor
  • Cheng, C.M., Copromotor, External person
Award date23 Apr 2012
Place of PublicationEindhoven
Print ISBNs978-90-386-3128-8
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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