Cryptanalysis of the GPRS Encryption Algorithms GEA-1 and GEA-22021
Conference / Medium
Research Hub A: Kryptographie der Zukunft
RC 1: Cryptography against Mass Surveillance
This paper presents the first publicly available cryptanalytic attacks on the GEA-1 and GEA-2 algorithms. Instead of providing full 64-bit security, we show that the initial state of GEA-1 can be recovered from as little as 65 bits of known keystream (with at least 24 bits coming from one frame) in time 240 GEA-1 evaluations and using 44.5 GiB of memory. The attack on GEA-1 is based on an exceptional interaction of the deployed LFSRs and the key initialization, which is highly unlikely to occur by chance. This unusual pattern indicates that the weakness is intentionally hidden to limit the security level to 40 bit by design. In contrast, for GEA-2 we did not discover the same intentional weakness. However, using a combination of algebraic techniques and list merging algorithms we are still able to break GEA-2 in time 245.1 GEA-2 evaluations. The main practical hurdle is the required knowledge of 1600 bytes of keystream.