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Another attack on A5/1

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2 Author(s)
Ekdahl, P. ; Dept. of Inf. Technol., Lund Univ., Sweden ; Johansson, T.

A5/1 is a stream cipher used in the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) standard. Several time-memory tradeoff attacks against A5/1 have been proposed, most notably the attack by Biryukov, Shamir and Wagner (1978), which can break A5/1 in seconds using huge precomputation time and memory. This article presents a completely different attack on A5/1, based on ideas from correlation attacks. Whereas time-memory tradeoff attacks have a complexity which is exponential with the shift-register length, the complexity of the proposed attack is almost independent of the shift-register length. Our implementation of the suggested attack breaks A5/1 in a few minutes using 2-5 min of conversation plaintext.

Published in:

Information Theory, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:49 ,  Issue: 1 )