Perfect nonlinear functions and cryptography

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Abstract

In the late 1980s the importance of highly nonlinear functions in cryptography was first discovered by Meier and Staffelbach from the point of view of correlation attacks on stream ciphers, and later by Nyberg in the early 1990s after the introduction of the differential cryptanalysis method. Perfect nonlinear (PN) and almost perfect nonlinear (APN) functions, which have the optimal properties for offering resistance against differential cryptanalysis, have since then been an object of intensive study by many mathematicians. In this paper, we survey some of the theoretical results obtained on these functions in the last 25 years. We recall how the links with other mathematical concepts have accelerated the search on PN and APN functions. To illustrate the use of PN and APN functions in practice, we discuss examples of ciphers and their resistance to differential attacks. In particular, we recall that in cryptographic applications suboptimal functions are often used.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-147
JournalFinite Fields and Their Applications
Volume32
Issue numberMarch
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Perfect nonlinear functions, PN functions, Almost perfect nonlinear functions, APN functions, Differential uniformity, Nonlinearity, Differential cryptanalysis

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