I am researching ASCON. I can find cryptanalytic attacks ASCON authenticated encryption and ASCON HASH, But I am not finding anything ASCON MAC. Anyone knows of any attacks, any research on this?

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    $\begingroup$ Maybe compose the proof of indistinguishability of ASCON permutation with Sponge MAC mode of operation? Or decompose that of ASCON AE into parts of encryption and authentication? $\endgroup$
    – DannyNiu
    Commented Dec 1, 2023 at 6:35
  • $\begingroup$ Hi @DannyNiu please explain a little more. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 1, 2023 at 6:58
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    $\begingroup$ Composing: There're probably other permutation-based MAC schemes, use their proof for the mode of operation with indistinguishability proof for ASCON would yield a proof for ASCON-MAC. Decomposing: Just ignore the encryption part (by e.g. disclosing the plaintext) and adopt the proof for ASCON-AE for ASCON-MAC. I'm not well-versed mathematically, so I can only provide a general idea, and not a full answer. $\endgroup$
    – DannyNiu
    Commented Dec 1, 2023 at 7:02
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    $\begingroup$ Yep, exactly what I wanted to post yesterday. For these kind of schemes normally the construction is proven to be secure assuming that the primitive is secure. And the primitive (ASCON) is then shown to be secure using analytic attacks. That I know how this works doesn't mean that I know how to do it necessarily though :| $\endgroup$
    – Maarten Bodewes
    Commented Dec 1, 2023 at 13:10
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    $\begingroup$ There are lots of Ascon variants/uses and not all of them have been directly analysed by a third party. I looked at Ascon during my dissertation earlier this year and don't remember seeing any papers analysing Ascon-MAC. Also, it differs from the AEAD mode, like it doesn't do key blinding. It's more similar to Ascon-Hash. It's worth looking at the NIST Lightweight Cryptography Workshops for presentations that summarise the security analysis results of the permutation. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 2, 2023 at 10:03


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