Biased differential distinguisher – Cryptanalysis of reduced-round SKINNY

Orr Dunkelman, Senyang Huang, Eran Lambooij, Stav Perle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


SKINNY is a lightweight tweakable block cipher which received a great deal of cryptanalytic attention due to its elegant structure and efficiency. Despite the cryptanalytic efforts the security margins are remaining high. This has led to SKINNY being used as a component of multiple submissions in the NIST Lightweight Competition, an effort to standardize a lightweight AEAD scheme. Inspired by the SKINNY competitions, multiple attacks on it were reported in different settings (e.g. single vs. related-tweakey) using different techniques (impossible differentials, zero-correlation, meet-in-the-middle, etc.). In this paper we revisit some of these attacks, identify issues with several of them, and offer a series of improved attacks which were experimentally verified. Our best attack can attack up to 18 rounds of SKINNY-64 using 260 chosen plaintexts data, 2116 time, and 2112 memory.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104796
JournalInformation and Computation
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • Blockcipher
  • Differential cryptanalysis
  • Impossible differential
  • Lightweight cryptography
  • Tweakable encryption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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