Monthly Archives: December 2007

MiFare’s CRYPTO1 algorithm mostly reverse-engineered

MiFare’s CRYPTO1 stream cipher has captured my attention for a while. However, hardware reverse-engineering is not a field I actively engage in. So I was very happy when Karsten Nohl (University of Virginia), Starbug and Henryk Plötz gave a talk at the 24C3 [the 24th Congress of the Chaos Computer Club taking place in Berlin at this very moment] yesterday evening showing that they have reverse-engineered most parts of this cipher. CRYPTO1 uses a 48-bit LFSR-based filter generator to generate key stream.

The filter function – if I understood correctly – uses 24 20 taps (this was not mentioned in the talk, I asked Karsten privately about this) however the degree of the boolean function implementing the filter , thus it remains to be seen whether algebraic attacks can be applied. Even if no algebraic attacks are applied, a BSW sampling TMTO will break CRYPTO1 completely. This was pretty obvious before they gave their talk, but now vendors actually have to worry about this being out in the wild once the feedback and the filter function have been revealed.

My colleague Erik took photos of the slides which I put up on Zooomr. A video recording of the talk should be available shortly and will be linked here.

Update 2008-01-02: A recording of the talk now is available (MPEG4, iPod compatible).