With a Sponge permutation in a Duplex construction for authenticated encryption.

illustration example: ascon; actual interest if relevant: keccak

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Suppose there is no associated data and there is no nonce, just a key. A classical xor-cipher problem arises with the first cipher-text block where

$C_{a,1}\oplus C_{b,1}= P_{a,1}\oplus P_{b,1}$. - for two streams $a$ and $b$ with the same key

  • but it would appear that subsequent blocks are fine.

However, suppose instead of associated data you insert $P_1$ (and then repeat $P_1$ again and proceed normally as per the construction)

Basically Using $P_1$ as a nonce. But then every subsequent $P_x$ is an additional nonce of sorts.

Would you not have a situation where you end up with a stream cipher that will be in no danger of nonce (nonce being 0*) reuse? Every duplex instance using the same key would only produce identical $S_1\ldots S_x$ for identical $P_1\ldots P_x$ ($S_x$ being $C_x\oplus P_x$ or the "public" part of the sponge permutation)

Is this correct? And if so, is the only downside of this approach the fact that identical plaintext will always produce identical ciphertext & tag? No other security implications?


1 Answer 1


You would still have the XOR-cipher problem for pairs of plaintext where $P_{a,1}=P_{b,1}$. This is quite a credible condition as messages can often have stereotyped beginning such as "Dear Sir/Madam" or "CLASSIFICATION: TOP SECRET".

If we have two messages where $P_{a,1}=P_{b,1}$, then the state coming out of $p_b$ after the "associated data" step is equal for both messages. We then see that $C_{a,1}$ and $C_{b,1}$ are also equal as are the two states and for the next block we'd have $C_{a,2}\oplus C_{b,2}=P_{a,2}\oplus P_{b,2}$.

There's also the question of how the recipient is supposed to recreate the stream. They have no knowledge of $P_1$ and so cannot reproduce the state coming out of $p_b$ after the "associated data" step unless $P_1$ is transmitted in the clear.


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