Newsgroups: sci.crypt
From: (Colin Plumb)

Subject: Re: Block Mixing Transformations
Message-ID: <>
X-Disclaimer: Nyx is a public access Unix system run by the University
+             of Denver for the Denver community.  The University has neither
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Keywords: DES replacement, Large blocks
Sender: (netnews admin account)
Organization: Nyx, Public Access Unix at U. of Denver Math/CS dept.
References: <>
Date: Mon, 14 Mar 94 22:37:02 GMT
Lines: 78

Terry Ritter  proposes the following simple
function for transforming two plaintext blocks A and B to two
ciphertext blocks X and Y:

X = 2A+3B	Y = 3A+2B
A = 2X+3Y	B = 3X+2Y

This is done in GF(2^n), for a suitable n-bit blocksize.  That is,
modulo a suitable n-bit irreducible polynomial p.  So "2" and "3" are
actually the bit patterns "0...010" and "0...011", and "+" means

The algorithm is self-inverse.  Let's rephrase it as:

T = (A+B)*2 (mod p)
A += T;
B += T;

The reason it's self-inverse is that it preserves A+B.  This means that
if it is used in a structure like an FFT butterfly to encrypt large
blocks (with an unknown polynomial p), it preserves the XOR of the
entire block.  That's quite an information leak.

From A+B, it is easy to obtain most of T, save only the term of p which
may be added in the modular reduction.  Because this depends on the high
bit of A+B, it is also easy to see when this has been added.

Given a very few pairs (X,Y) of ciphertext only, half of them will
have the high bit of X^Y clear, so the plaintext can be recovered using
T = (X^Y)<<1; A = Y^T; B = X^T;  If there are any exploitable patterns
in A and B, these can be used to find p in the cases where X^Y has
its high bit set and T = (X^Y)<<1; A = Y^T^p; B = X^T^p;, for some
unknown p.  Finding p should not be difficult.

Basically, this operation is far too linear.

As an aside, if you want a better block-mixing function, try starting
with the MA-structure used in IDEA:

      A    B
      |    |
      v    v
      |    |
      |    |
      v    v
      |    |
      v    v
      X    Y

Now, to avoid colliding with the patent restrictions, change the operations
so that they are still non-distributive but aren't group operations.
I'd suggest * be multiplication in GF(2^n) (so K1 and K2 are constrained
to be non-zero to make it invertible) and + be addition modulo 2^n.

The transformation can be expressed in C with the * and + operators as:

A *= K1;
B += A;
B *= K2;
A += B;

(X and Y are now A and B)

and the inverse, if K1' and K2' are the inverses of K1 and K2, is:

A -= B;
B *= K2';
B -= A;
A *= K1';

That is a much less linear transformation.  The last A += B step,
of course, has no direct cryptographic significance, but it introduces
dependancy on K2 into A, which is useful if this is cascaded.