From Farfalle to Megafono via Ciminion: The PRF Hydra for MPC Applications


The area of multi-party computation (MPC) has recently increased in popularity and number of use cases. At the current state of the art, Ciminion, a Farfalle-like cryptographic function, achieves the best performance in MPC applications involving symmetric primitives.However, it has a critical weakness. Its security highly relies on the independence of its subkeys, which is achieved by using an expensive key schedule. Many MPC use cases involving symmetric pseudo-random functions (PRFs) rely on secretly shared symmetric keys, and hence the expensive key schedule must also be computed in MPC. As a result, Ciminion’s performance is significantly reduced in these use cases.In this paper we solve this problem. Following the approach introduced by Ciminion’s designers, we present a novel primitive in symmetric cryptography called Megafono. Megafono is a keyed extendable PRF, expanding a fixed-length input to an arbitrary-length output. Similar to Farfalle, an initial keyed permutation is applied to the input, followed by an expansion layer, involving the parallel application of keyed ciphers. The main novelty regards the expansion of the intermediate/internal state for “free”, by appending the sum of the internal states of the first permutation to its output. The combination of this and other modifications, together with the impossibility for the attacker to have access to the input state of the expansion layer, make Megafono very efficient in the target application. As a concrete example, we present the PRF Hydra, an instance of Megafono based on the Hades strategy and on generalized versions of the Lai–Massey scheme. Based on an extensive security analysis, we implement Hydra in an MPC framework. The results show that it outperforms all MPC-friendly schemes currently published in the literature.

Apr 25, 2023
Eurocrypt 2023 – Lyon, France
Roman Walch
Roman Walch
Co-founder of TACEO GmbH, Ph.D. Student, and Researcher in Cryptography

My main research interests include privacy enhancing technologies (FHE, MPC, ZKP), domain-specific symmetric primitives, and their application to real-world use cases.