Willi Meier

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Title Near-colliding Keys in RC4


Abstract

Search of key collisions in the RC4 stream cipher has been an active area.

We investigate near-colliding keys that lead to related states after key scheduling and related key stream bytes.

Our investigation reveals that near-colliding states do not necessarily lead to near-colliding key streams.

From this motivation, we present practical methods to find a related key pair with differences in two bytes,

that leads to a large number of matches in the initial key stream. In the process, we discover a class of related key

distinguishers for RC4. The best one of these shows that given a random key and a related one to that

(the last two bytes increased and decreased by 1 respectively), the first pair of bytes corresponding to the

related keys are the same with significant probability (e.g., approximately 0.011 for 16-byte keys to 0.044 for 30-byte keys).