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UMAC: Message Authentication Code using Universal Hashing

The information below is for an old version of the document that is already published as an RFC.
Document Type
This is an older version of an Internet-Draft that was ultimately published as RFC 4418.
Author Ted Krovetz
Last updated 2020-01-21 (Latest revision 2005-11-08)
RFC stream Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
Intended RFC status Informational
Stream WG state (None)
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IESG IESG state Became RFC 4418 (Informational)
Action Holders
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Responsible AD Russ Housley
Send notices to (None)
CFRG Working Group                                    T. Krovetz, Editor
INTERNET-DRAFT                                            CSU Sacramento
Expires May 2006                                           November 2005

       UMAC: Message Authentication Code using Universal Hashing

   By submitting this Internet-Draft, each author represents that any
   applicable patent or other IPR claims of which he or she is aware
   have been or will be disclosed, and any of which he or she becomes
   aware will be disclosed, in accordance with Section 6 of BCP 79.

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   This specification describes how to generate an authentication tag
   using the UMAC message authentication algorithm.  UMAC is designed to
   be very fast to compute in software on contemporary uniprocessors.
   Measured speeds are as low as one cycle per byte.  UMAC relies on
   addition of 32-bit and 64-bit numbers and multiplication of 32-bit
   numbers, operations well-supported by contemporary machines.

   To generate the authentication tag on a given message, a "universal"
   hash function is applied to the message and key to produce a short,
   fixed-length hash value, and this hash value is then xor'ed with a
   key-derived pseudorandom pad.  UMAC enjoys a rigorous security
   analysis and its only internal "cryptographic" component is a block
   cipher used to generate the pseudorandom pads and internal key

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                           Table of Contents

1  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
2  Notation and basic operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   2.1  Operations on strings  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   2.2  Operations on integers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   2.3  String-Integer conversion operations . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   2.4  Mathematical operations on strings . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   2.5  ENDIAN-SWAP: Adjusting endian orientation  . . . . . . . . .   6
3  Key and pad derivation functions  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   3.1  Block cipher choice  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   3.2  KDF: Key-derivation function . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   3.3  PDF: Pad-derivation function . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
4  UMAC tag generation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
   4.1  UMAC Algorithm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   4.2  UMAC-32, UMAC-64, UMAC-96 and UMAC-128 . . . . . . . . . . .  10
5  UHASH: Universal hash function  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   5.1  UHASH Algorithm  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
   5.2  L1-HASH: First-layer hash  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
   5.3  L2-HASH: Second-layer hash . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14
   5.4  L3-HASH: Third-layer hash  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  16
6  Security considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
   6.1  Resistance to cryptanalysis  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
   6.2  Tag lengths and forging probability  . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
   6.3  Nonce considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
   6.4  Replay attacks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20
   6.5  Tag-prefix verification  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  21
   6.6  Side-channel attacks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  21
7  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  21
8  Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  21
Appendix - Test vectors  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  23
Author contact information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  24

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1  Introduction

   UMAC is a message authentication algorithm (MAC) designed for high
   performance.  It it backed by a rigorous formal analysis and there
   are no intellectual property claims made to any ideas used in its

   UMAC is a MAC in the style of Wegman and Carter [4, 7].  A fast
   "universal" hash function is used to hash an input message M into a
   short string.  This short string is then masked by xor'ing with a
   pseudorandom pad, resulting in the UMAC tag.  Security depends on the
   sender and receiver sharing a randomly-chosen secret hash function
   and pseudorandom pad.  This is achieved by using keyed hash function
   H and pseudorandom function F.  A tag is generated by performing the

     Tag = H_K1(M) xor F_K2(Nonce)

   where K1 and K2 are secret random keys shared by sender and receiver,
   and Nonce is a value that changes with each generated tag.  The
   receiver needs to know which nonce was used by the sender, so some
   method of synchronizing nonces needs to be used.  This can be done by
   explicitly sending the nonce along with the message and tag, or
   agreeing upon the use of some other non-repeating value such as a
   sequence number.  The nonce need not be kept secret, but care needs
   to be taken to ensure that, over the lifetime of a UMAC key, a
   different nonce is used with each message.

   UMAC uses a keyed function, called UHASH (also specified in this
   document), as the keyed hash function H and uses a pseudorandom
   function F whose default implementation uses the AES algorithm.  UMAC
   is designed to produce 32-, 64-, 96- or 128-bit tags, depending on
   the desired security level.  The theory of Wegman-Carter MACs and the
   analysis of UMAC show that if one "instantiates" UMAC with truly
   random keys and pads then the probability that an attacker (even a
   computationally unbounded one) produces a correct tag for any message
   of its choosing is no more than 1/2^30, 1/2^60, 1/2^90 or 1/2^120 if
   the tags output by UMAC are of length 32, 64, 96 or 128 bits,
   respectively (here the symbol ^ represents exponentiation).  When an
   attacker makes N forgery attempts the probability of getting one or
   more tags right increases linearly to at most N/2^30, N/2^60, N/2^90
   or N/2^120.  In a real implementation of UMAC, using AES to produce
   keys and pads, the forgery probabilities listed above increase by a
   small amount related to the security of AES.  As long as AES is
   secure this small additive term is insignificant for any practical
   attack.  See Section 6.2 for more details.  Analysis relevant to UMAC
   security is in [3, 6].

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   UMAC performs best in environments where 32-bit quantities are
   efficiently multiplied into 64-bit results.  In producing 64-bit tags
   on an Intel Pentium 4 using SSE2 instructions, which do two of these
   multiplications in parallel, UMAC processes messages at a peak rate
   of about one CPU cycle per byte, with the peak being achieved on
   messages of around four kilobytes and longer.  On the Pentium III,
   without the use of SSE parallelism, UMAC achieves a peak of two
   cycles per byte.  On shorter messages UMAC still performs well:
   around four cycles per byte on 256 byte messages and under two cycles
   per byte on 1500 byte messages.  The time to produce a 32-bit tag is
   a little more than half that needed to produce a 64-bit tag, while
   96- and 128-bit tags take one-and-a-half and twice as long.

   Optimized source code, performance data and papers concerning UMAC
   can be found at

2  Notation and basic operations

   The specification of UMAC involves the manipulation of both strings
   and numbers.  String variables are denoted with an initial upper-case
   letter, whereas numeric variables are denoted in all lower case.  The
   algorithms of UMAC are denoted in all upper-case letters.  Simple
   functions, like those for string-length and string-xor, are written
   in all lower case.

   Whenever a variable is followed by an underscore ("_"), the
   underscore is intended to denote a subscript, with the subscripted
   expression evaluated to resolve the meaning of the variable.  For
   example, if i=2, then M_{2 * i} refers to the variable M_4.

2.1  Operations on strings

   Messages to be hashed are viewed as strings of bits which get zero-
   padded to an appropriate byte-length.  Once the message is padded,
   all strings are viewed as strings of bytes.  A "byte" is an 8-bit
   string.  The following notation is used to manipulate these strings.

     bytelength(S): The length of string S in bytes.

     bitlength(S):  The length of string S in bits.

     zeroes(n):     The string made of n zero-bytes.

     S xor T:       The string which is the bitwise exclusive-or of S
                    and T.  Strings S and T always have the same length.

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     S and T:       The string which is the bitwise conjunction of S and
                    T.  Strings S and T always have the same length.

     S[i]:          The i-th byte of the string S (indices begin at 1).

     S[i...j]:      The substring of S consisting of bytes i through j.

     S || T:        The string S concatenated with string T.

     zeropad(S,n):  The string S, padded with zero-bits to the nearest
                    positive multiple of n bytes.  Formally,
                    zeropad(S,n) = S || T, where T is the shortest
                    string of zero-bits (possibly empty) so that S || T
                    is non-empty and 8n divides bitlength(S || T).

2.2  Operations on integers

   Standard notation is used for most mathematical operations, such as
   "*" for multiplication, "+" for addition and "mod" for modular
   reduction.  Some less standard notations are defined here.

     a^i:      The integer a raised to the i-th power.

     ceil(x):  The smallest integer greater than or equal to x.

     prime(n): The largest prime number less than 2^n.

   The prime numbers used in UMAC are:

    |  n  | prime(n) [Decimal] | prime(n) [Hexadecimal]                |
    | 36  | 2^36  - 5          | 0x0000000F FFFFFFFB                   |
    | 64  | 2^64  - 59         | 0xFFFFFFFF FFFFFFC5                   |
    | 128 | 2^128 - 159        | 0xFFFFFFFF FFFFFFFF FFFFFFFF FFFFFF61 |

2.3  String-Integer conversion operations

   Conversion between strings and integers is done using the following
   functions.  Each function treats initial bits as more significant
   than later ones.

     bit(S,n):      Returns the integer 1 if the n-th bit of the string
                    S is 1, otherwise returns the integer 0 (indices
                    begin at 1).

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     str2uint(S):   The non-negative integer whose binary representation
                    is the string S.  More formally, if S is t bits long
                    then str2uint(S) = 2^{t-1} * bit(S,1) + 2^{t-2} *
                    bit(S,2) + ... + 2^{1} * bit(S,t-1) + bit(S,t).

     uint2str(n,i): The i-byte string S such that str2uint(S) = n.

2.4  Mathematical operations on strings

   One of the primary operations in UMAC is repeated application of
   addition and multiplication on strings.  The operations "+_32",
   "+_64" and "*_64"  are defined

     "S +_32 T" as uint2str(str2uint(S) + str2uint(T) mod 2^32, 4),
     "S +_64 T" as uint2str(str2uint(S) + str2uint(T) mod 2^64, 8) and
     "S *_64 T" as uint2str(str2uint(S) * str2uint(T) mod 2^64, 8).

   These operations correspond well with the addition and multiplication
   operations which are performed efficiently by modern computers.

2.5  ENDIAN-SWAP: Adjusting endian orientation

   Message data is read little-endian to speed tag generation on little-
   endian computers.

2.5.1  ENDIAN-SWAP Algorithm

     S, string with length divisible by 4 bytes.
     T, string S with each 4-byte word endian-reversed.

   Compute T using the following algorithm.

     // Break S into 4-byte chunks
     n = bytelength(S) / 4
     Let S_1, S_2, ..., S_n be strings of length 4 bytes
        so that S_1 || S_2 || ... || S_n = S.

     // Byte-reverse each chunk, and build-up T

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     T = <empty string>
     for i = 1 to n do
       Let W_1, W_2, W_3, W_4  be bytes
          so that W_1 || W_2 || W_3 || W_4 = S_i
       SReversed_i = W_4 || W_3 || W_2 || W_1
       T = T || SReversed_i
     end for

     Return T

3  Key and pad derivation functions

   Pseudorandom bits are needed internally by UHASH and at the time of
   tag generation.  The functions listed in this section use a block
   cipher to generate these bits.

3.1  Block cipher choice

   UMAC uses the services of a block cipher.  The selection of a block
   cipher defines the following constants and functions.

     BLOCKLEN         The length, in bytes, of the plaintext block on
                      which the block cipher operates.

     KEYLEN           The block cipher's key length, in bytes.

     ENCIPHER(K,P)    The application of the block cipher on P (a string
                      of BLOCKLEN bytes) using key K (a string of KEYLEN

   As an example, if AES is used with 16-byte keys, then BLOCKLEN would
   equal 16 (because AES employs  16-byte blocks), KEYLEN would equal
   16, and ENCIPHER would refer to the AES function.

   Unless specified otherwise, AES with 128-bit keys shall be assumed to
   be the chosen block cipher for UMAC.  Only if explicitly specified
   otherwise, and agreed by communicating parties, shall some other
   block cipher be used.  In any case, BLOCKLEN must be at least 16 and
   a power of two.

   AES is defined in another document [1].

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3.2  KDF: Key-derivation function

   The key-derivation function generates pseudorandom bits used to key
   the hash functions.

3.2.1  KDF Algorithm

     K, string of length KEYLEN bytes.  // block cipher key
     index, a non-negative integer less than 2^64.
     numbytes, a non-negative integer less than 2^64.
     Y, string of length numbytes bytes.

   Compute Y using the following algorithm.

     // Calculate number of block cipher iterations
     n = ceil(numbytes / BLOCKLEN)
     Y = <empty string>

     // Build Y using block cipher in a counter mode
     for i = 1 to n do
       T = uint2str(index, BLOCKLEN-8) || uint2str(i, 8)
       T = ENCIPHER(K, T)
       Y = Y || T
     end for

     Y = Y[1...numbytes]

     Return Y

3.3  PDF: Pad-derivation function

   This function takes a key and a nonce and returns a pseudorandom pad
   for use in tag generation.  A pad of length 4, 8, 12 or 16 bytes can
   be generated.  Notice that pads generated using nonces that differ
   only in their last bit (when generating 8-byte pads) or last two bits
   (when generating 4-byte pads) are derived from the same block cipher
   encryption.  This allows caching and sharing a single block cipher
   invocation for sequential nonces.

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3.3.1  PDF Algorithm

     K, string of length KEYLEN bytes.
     Nonce, string of length 1 to BLOCKLEN bytes.
     taglen, the integer 4, 8, 12 or 16.
     Y, string of length taglen bytes.

   Compute Y using the following algorithm.

      // Extract and zero low bit(s) of Nonce if needed
      if (taglen = 4 or taglen = 8)
        index = str2uint(Nonce) mod (BLOCKLEN/taglen)
        Nonce = Nonce xor uint2str(index, bytelength(Nonce))
      end if

      // Make Nonce BLOCKLEN bytes by appending zeroes if needed
      Nonce = Nonce || zeroes(BLOCKLEN - bytelength(Nonce))

      // Generate subkey, encipher and extract indexed substring
      K' = KDF(K, 0, KEYLEN)
      T = ENCIPHER(K', Nonce)
      if (taglen = 4 or taglen = 8)
        Y = T[1 + (index*taglen) ... taglen + (index*taglen)]
        Y = T[1...taglen]
      end if

      Return Y

4  UMAC tag generation

   Tag generation for UMAC proceeds by using UHASH (defined in the next
   section) to hash the message, applying the PDF to the nonce and
   computing the xor of the resulting strings.  The length of the pad
   and hash can be either 4, 8, 12 or 16 bytes.

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4.1  UMAC Algorithm

     K, string of length KEYLEN bytes.
     M, string of length less than 2^67 bits.
     Nonce, string of length 1 to BLOCKLEN bytes.
     taglen, the integer 4, 8, 12 or 16.
     Tag, string of length taglen bytes.

   Compute Tag using the following algorithm.

     HashedMessage = UHASH(K, M, taglen)
     Pad           = PDF(K, Nonce, taglen)
     Tag           = Pad xor HashedMessage

     Return Tag

4.2  UMAC-32, UMAC-64, UMAC-96 and UMAC-128

   The preceding UMAC definition has a parameter "taglen" which
   specifies the length of tag generated by the algorithm.  The
   following aliases define names that make tag length explicit in the

     UMAC-32(K, M, Nonce) = UMAC(K, M, Nonce, 4)
     UMAC-64(K, M, Nonce) = UMAC(K, M, Nonce, 8)
     UMAC-96(K, M, Nonce) = UMAC(K, M, Nonce, 12)
     UMAC-128(K, M, Nonce) = UMAC(K, M, Nonce, 16)

5  UHASH: Universal hash function

   UHASH is a keyed hash function, which takes as input a string of
   arbitrary length, and produces a 4-, 8-, 12- or 16-byte output.
   UHASH does its work in three stages, or layers.  A message is first
   hashed by L1-HASH, its output is then hashed by L2-HASH, whose output
   is then hashed by L3-HASH.  If the message being hashed is no longer
   than 1024 bytes, then L2-HASH is skipped as an optimization.  Because
   L3-HASH outputs a string whose length is only four bytes long,
   multiple iterations of this three-layer hash are used if a total
   hash-output longer than four bytes is requested.  To reduce memory
   use, L1-HASH reuses most of its key material between iterations.  A
   significant amount of internal key is required for UHASH, but it
   remains constant so long as UMAC's key is unchanged.  It is the
   implementor's choice whether to generate the internal keys each time

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   a message is hashed, or to cache them between messages.

   Please note that UHASH has certain combinatoric properties making it
   suitable for Wegman-Carter message authentication.  UHASH is not a
   cryptographic hash function and is not a suitable general replacement
   for functions like SHA-1.

   UHASH is presented here in a top-down manner.  First UHASH is
   described, then each of its component hashes are presented.

5.1  UHASH Algorithm

     K, string of length KEYLEN bytes.
     M, string of length less than 2^67 bits.
     taglen, the integer 4, 8, 12 or 16.
     Y, string of length taglen bytes.

   Compute Y using the following algorithm.

     // One internal iteration per 4 bytes of output
     iters = taglen / 4

     // Define total key needed for all iterations using KDF.
     // L1Key and L3Key1 reuse most key material between iterations.
     L1Key  = KDF(K, 1, 1024 + (iters - 1) * 16)
     L2Key  = KDF(K, 2, iters * 24)
     L3Key1 = KDF(K, 3, iters * 64)
     L3Key2 = KDF(K, 4, iters * 4)

     // For each iteration, extract key and three-layer hash.
     // If bytelength(M) <= 1024, then skip L2-HASH.
     Y = <empty string>
     for i = 1 to iters do
       L1Key_i  = L1Key [(i-1) * 16 + 1 ... (i-1) * 16 + 1024]
       L2Key_i  = L2Key [(i-1) * 24 + 1 ... i * 24]
       L3Key1_i = L3Key1[(i-1) * 64 + 1 ... i * 64]
       L3Key2_i = L3Key2[(i-1) * 4  + 1 ... i * 4]

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       A = L1-HASH(L1Key_i, M)
       if (bitlength(M) <= bitlength(L1Key_i)) then
         B = zeroes(8) || A
         B = L2-HASH(L2Key_i, A)
       end if
       C = L3-HASH(L3Key1_i, L3Key2_i, B)
       Y = Y || C
     end for

     Return Y

5.2  L1-HASH: First-layer hash

   The first-layer hash breaks the message into 1024-byte chunks and
   hashes each with a function called NH.  Concatenating the results
   forms a string which is up to 128 times shorter than the original.

5.2.1  L1-HASH Algorithm

     K, string of length 1024 bytes.
     M, string of length less than 2^67 bits.
     Y, string of length (8 * ceil(bytelength(M)/1024)) bytes.

   Compute Y using the following algorithm.

     // Break M into 1024 byte chunks (final chunk may be shorter)
     t = ceil(bytelength(M) / 1024)
     Let M_1, M_2, ..., M_t be strings so that M = M_1 || M_2 || ... ||
        M_t, and bytelength(M_i) = 1024 for all 0 < i < t.

     // For each chunk, except the last: endian-adjust, NH hash
     // and add bit-length.  Use results to build Y.
     Len = uint2str(1024 * 8, 8)
     Y = <empty string>
     for i = 1 to t-1 do
       Y = Y || (NH(K, M_i) +_64 Len)
     end for

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     // For the last chunk: pad to 32-byte boundary, endian-adjust,
     // NH hash and add bit-length.  Concatenate the result to Y.
     Len = uint2str(bitlength(M_t), 8)
     M_t = zeropad(M_t, 32)
     Y = Y || (NH(K, M_t) +_64 Len)

     return Y

5.2.2  NH Algorithm

        Because this routine is applied directly to every bit of input
        data, optimized implementation of it yields great benefit.

     K, string of length 1024 bytes.
     M, string with length divisible by 32 bytes.
     Y, string of length 8 bytes.

   Compute Y using the following algorithm.

     // Break M and K into 4-byte chunks
     t = bytelength(M) / 4
     Let M_1, M_2, ..., M_t be 4-byte strings
       so that M = M_1 || M_2 || ... || M_t.
     Let K_1, K_2, ..., K_t be 4-byte strings
       so that K_1 || K_2 || ... || K_t  is a prefix of K.

     // Perform NH hash on the chunks, pairing words for multiplication
     // which are 4 apart to accommodate vector-parallelism.
     Y = zeroes(8)
     i = 1
     while (i < t) do
       Y = Y +_64 ((M_{i+0} +_32 K_{i+0}) *_64 (M_{i+4} +_32 K_{i+4}))
       Y = Y +_64 ((M_{i+1} +_32 K_{i+1}) *_64 (M_{i+5} +_32 K_{i+5}))
       Y = Y +_64 ((M_{i+2} +_32 K_{i+2}) *_64 (M_{i+6} +_32 K_{i+6}))
       Y = Y +_64 ((M_{i+3} +_32 K_{i+3}) *_64 (M_{i+7} +_32 K_{i+7}))
       i = i + 8

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     end while

     Return Y

5.3  L2-HASH: Second-layer hash

   The second-layer rehashes the L1-HASH output using a polynomial hash
   called POLY.  If the L1-HASH output is long, then POLY is called once
   on a prefix of the L1-HASH output and called using different settings
   on the remainder.  (This two-step hashing of the L1-HASH output is
   only needed if the message length is greater than 16 megabytes.)
   Careful implementation of POLY is necessary to avoid a possible
   timing attack (see Section 6.6 for more information).

5.3.1  L2-HASH Algorithm

     K, string of length 24 bytes.
     M, string of length less than 2^64 bytes.
     Y, string of length 16 bytes.

   Compute y using the following algorithm.

     //  Extract keys and restrict to special key-sets
     Mask64  = uint2str(0x01ffffff01ffffff, 8)
     Mask128 = uint2str(0x01ffffff01ffffff01ffffff01ffffff, 16)
     k64    = str2uint(K[1...8]  and Mask64)
     k128   = str2uint(K[9...24] and Mask128)

     // If M is no more than 2^17 bytes, hash under 64-bit prime,
     // otherwise, hash first 2^17 bytes under 64-bit prime and
     // remainder under 128-bit prime.
     if (bytelength(M) <= 2^17) then             // 2^14 64-bit words

        // View M as an array of 64-bit words, and use POLY modulo
        // prime(64) (and with bound 2^64 - 2^32) to hash it.
        y = POLY(64, 2^64 - 2^32,  k64, M)

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        M_1 = M[1...2^17]
        M_2 = M[2^17 + 1 ... bytelength(M)]
        M_2 = zeropad(M_2 || uint2str(0x80,1), 16)
        y = POLY(64, 2^64 - 2^32, k64, M_1)
        y = POLY(128, 2^128 - 2^96, k128, uint2str(y, 16) || M_2)
      end if

     Y = uint2str(y, 16)

     Return Y

5.3.2  POLY Algorithm

     wordbits, The integer 64 or 128.
     maxwordrange, positive integer less than 2^wordbits.
     k, integer in the range 0 ... prime(wordbits) - 1.
     M, string with length divisible by (wordbits / 8) bytes.
     y, integer in the range 0 ... prime(wordbits) - 1.

   Compute y using the following algorithm.

     // Define constants used for fixing out-of-range words
     wordbytes = wordbits / 8
     p = prime(wordbits)
     offset = 2^wordbits - p
     marker = p - 1

     // Break M into chunks of length wordbytes bytes
     n = bytelength(M) / wordbytes
     Let M_1, M_2, ..., M_n be strings of length wordbytes bytes
       so that M = M_1 || M_2 || ... || M_n

     // Each input word m is compared with maxwordrange.  If not smaller
     // then 'marker' and (m - offset), both in range, are hashed.
     y = 1
     for i = 1 to n do
       m = str2uint(M_i)
       if (m >= maxwordrange) then

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         y = (k * y + marker) mod p
         y = (k * y + (m - offset)) mod p
         y = (k * y + m) mod p
       end if
     end for

     Return y

5.4  L3-HASH: Third-layer hash

   The output from L2-HASH is 16 bytes long.  This final hash function
   hashes the 16-byte string to a fixed length of 4 bytes.

5.4.1  L3-HASH Algorithm

     K1, string of length 64 bytes.
     K2, string of length 4 bytes.
     M, string of length 16 bytes.
     Y, string of length 4 bytes.

   Compute Y using the following algorithm.

     y = 0

     // Break M and K1 into 8 chunks and convert to integers
     for i = 1 to 8 do
       M_i = M [(i - 1) * 2 + 1 ... i * 2]
       K_i = K1[(i - 1) * 8 + 1 ... i * 8]
       m_i = str2uint(M_i)
       k_i = str2uint(K_i) mod prime(36)
     end for

     // Inner-product hash, extract last 32 bits and affine-translate
     y = (m_1 * k_1 + ... + m_8 * k_8) mod prime(36)
     y = y mod 2^32
     Y = uint2str(y, 4)
     Y = Y xor K2

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     Return Y

6  Security considerations

   As a message authentication code specification, this entire document
   is about security.  Here we describe some security considerations
   important for the proper understanding and use of UMAC.

6.1  Resistance to cryptanalysis

   The strength of UMAC depends on the strength of its underlying
   cryptographic functions: the key-derivation function (KDF) and the
   pad-derivation function (PDF).  In this specification both operations
   are implemented using a block cipher, by default the Advanced
   Encryption Standard (AES).  However, the design of UMAC allows for
   the replacement of these components.  Indeed, it is possible to use
   other block ciphers or other cryptographic objects, such as (properly
   keyed) SHA-1 or HMAC for the realization of the KDF or PDF.

   The core of the UMAC design, the UHASH function, does not depend on
   cryptographic assumptions: its strength is specified by a purely
   mathematical property stated in terms of collision probability, and
   this property is proven unconditionally [3, 6].  This means the
   strength of UHASH is guaranteed regardless of advances in

   The analysis of UMAC [3, 6] shows this scheme to have provable
   security, in the sense of modern cryptography, by way of tight
   reductions.  What this means is that an adversarial attack on UMAC
   that forges with probability significantly exceeding the established
   collision probability of UHASH will give rise to an attack of
   comparable complexity which breaks the block cipher, in the sense of
   distinguishing the block cipher from a family of random permutations.
   This design approach essentially obviates the need for cryptanalysis
   on UMAC: cryptanalytic efforts might as well focus on the block
   cipher, the results imply.

6.2  Tag lengths and forging probability

   A MAC algorithm is used to authenticate messages between two parties
   that share a secret MAC key K.  An authentication tag is computed for
   a message using K and, in some MAC algorithms such as UMAC, a nonce.
   Messages transmitted between parties are accompanied by their tag
   and, possibly, nonce.  Breaking the MAC means that the attacker is
   able to generate, on its own, with no knowledge of the key K, a new

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   message M (ie, one not previously transmitted between the legitimate
   parties) and to compute on M a correct authentication tag under the
   key K.  This is called a forgery.  Note that if the authentication
   tag is specified to be of length t then the attacker can trivially
   break the MAC with probability 1/2^t.  For this the attacker can just
   generate any message of its choice and try a random tag; obviously,
   the tag is correct with probability 1/2^t.  By repeated guesses the
   attacker can increase linearly its probability of success.

   In the case of UMAC-64, for example, the above guessing-attack
   strategy is close to optimal.  An adversary can correctly guess an
   8-byte UMAC tag with probability 1/2^64 by simply guessing a random
   value.  The results of [3, 6] show that no attack strategy can
   produce a correct tag with probability better than 1/2^60 if UMAC
   were to use a random function in its work rather than AES.  Another
   result [2], when combined with [3, 6], shows that so long as AES is
   secure as a pseudorandom permutation, it can be used instead of a
   random function without significantly increasing the 1/2^60 forging
   probability, assuming that no more than 2^64 messages are
   authenticated.  Likewise 32-, 96- and 128-bit tags cannot be forged
   with more than 1/2^30, 1/2^90 and 1/2^120 probability plus the
   probability of a successful attack against AES as a pseudorandom

   AES has undergone extensive study and is assumed to be very secure as
   a pseudorandom permutation.  If we assume that no attacker with
   feasible computational power can distinguish randomly keyed AES from
   a randomly chosen permutation with probability delta (more precisely,
   delta is a function of the computational resources of the attacker
   and of its ability to sample the function), then we obtain that no
   such attacker can forge UMAC with probability greater than 1/2^30,
   1/^60, 1/2^90 or 1/2^120, plus 3*delta.  Over N forgery attempts,
   forgery occurs with probability no more than N/2^30, N/^60, N/2^90 or
   N/2^120, plus 3*delta.  The value delta may exceed 1/2^30, 1/2^60,
   1/2^90 or 1/2^120, in which case the probability of UMAC forging is
   dominated by a term representing the security of AES.

   With UMAC, off-line computation aimed at exceeding the forging
   probability is hopeless as long as the underlying cipher is not
   broken.  An attacker attempting to forge UMAC tags will need to
   interact with the entity that verifies message tags and try a large
   number of forgeries before one is likely to succeed.  The system
   architecture will determine the extent to which this is possible.  In
   a well-architected system there should not be any high-bandwidth
   capability for presenting forged MACs and determining if they are
   valid.  In particular, the number of authentication failures at the
   verifying party should be limited.  If a large number of such
   attempts are detected the session key in use should be dropped and

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   the event be recorded in an audit log.

   Let us reemphasize: a forging probability of 1/2^60 does not mean
   that there is an attack that runs in 2^60 time; to the contrary, as
   long as the block cipher in use is not broken there is no such attack
   for UMAC.  Instead, a 1/2^60 forging probability means that if an
   attacker could have N forgery attempts, then the attacker would have
   no more than N/2^60 probability of getting one or more of them right.

   It should be pointed out that once an attempted forgery is
   successful, it is possible, in principle, that subsequent messages
   under this key may be easily forged.  This is important to understand
   in gauging the severity of a successful forgery, even though no such
   attack on UMAC is known to date.

   In conclusion, 64-bit tags seem appropriate for many security
   architectures and commercial applications.  If one wants a more
   conservative option, at a cost of about 50% or 100% more computation,
   UMAC can produce 96- or 128-bit tags that have basic collision
   probabilities of at most 1/2^90 and 1/2^120.  If one needs less
   security, with the benefit of about 50% less computation, UMAC can
   produce 32-bit tags.  In this case, under the same assumptions as
   before, one can not forge a message with probability better than
   1/2^30.  Special care must be taken when using 32-bit tags because
   1/2^30 forgery probability is considered fairly high.  Still, high-
   speed low-security authentication can be applied usefully on low-
   value data or rapidly-changing key environments.

6.3  Nonce considerations

   UMAC requires a nonce with length in the range 1 to BLOCKLEN bytes.
   All nonces in an authentication session must be equal in length.  For
   secure operation, no nonce value should be repeated within the life
   of a single UMAC session-key.  There is no guarantee of message
   authenticity when a nonce is repeated, and so messages accompanied by
   a repeated nonce should be considered inauthentic.

   To authenticate messages over a duplex channel (where two parties
   send messages to each other), a different key could be used for each
   direction.  If the same key is used in both directions, then it is
   crucial that all nonces be distinct.  For example, one party can use
   even nonces while the other party uses odd ones.  The receiving party
   must verify that the sender is using a nonce of the correct form.

   This specification does not indicate how nonce values are created,
   updated, or communicated between the entity producing a tag and the
   entity verifying a tag.  The following are possibilities:

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   1.  The nonce is an eight-byte unsigned number, Counter, which is
       initialized to zero, which is incremented by one following the
       generation of each authentication tag, and which is always
       communicated along with the message and the authentication tag.
       An error occurs at the sender if there is an attempt to
       authenticate more than 2^64 messages within a session.

   2.  The nonce is a BLOCKLEN-byte unsigned number, Counter, which is
       initialized to zero and which is incremented by one following the
       generation of each authentication tag.  The Counter is not
       explicitly communicated between the sender and receiver.
       Instead, the two are assumed to communicate over a reliable
       transport, and each maintains its own counter so as to keep track
       of what the current nonce value is.

   3.  The nonce is a BLOCKLEN-byte random value.  (Because repetitions
       in a random n-bit value are expected at around 2^(n/2) trials,
       the number of messages to be communicated in a session using n-
       bit nonces should not be allowed to approach 2^(n/2).)

   We emphasize that the value of the nonce need not be kept secret.

   When UMAC is used within a higher-level protocol there may already be
   a field, such as a sequence number, which can be co-opted so as to
   specify the nonce needed by UMAC [5].  The application will then
   specify how to construct the nonce from this already-existing field.

6.4  Replay attacks

   A replay attack entails the attacker repeating a message, nonce, and
   authentication tag.  In many applications, replay attacks may be
   quite damaging and must be prevented.  In UMAC, this would normally
   be done at the receiver by having the receiver check that no nonce
   value is used twice.  On a reliable connection, when the nonce is a
   counter, this is trivial.  On an unreliable connection, when the
   nonce is a counter, one would normally cache some window of recent
   nonces.  Out-of-order message delivery in excess of what the window
   allows will result in rejecting otherwise valid authentication tags.
   We emphasize that it is up to the receiver when a given (message,
   nonce, tag) triple will be deemed authentic.  Certainly the tag
   should be valid for the message and nonce, as determined by UMAC, but
   the message may still be deemed inauthentic because the nonce is
   detected to be a replay.

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6.5  Tag-prefix verification

   UMAC's definition makes it possible to implement tag-prefix
   verification; for example, a receiver might verify only the 32-bit
   prefix of a 64-bit tag if its computational load is high.  Or a
   receiver might reject out-of-hand a 64-bit tag whose 32-bit prefix is
   incorrect.  Such practices are potentially dangerous and can lead to
   attacks that reduce the security of the session to the length of the
   verified prefix.  A UMAC key (or session) must have an associated and
   immutable tag length and the implementation should not leak
   information that would reveal if a given proper prefix of a tag is
   valid or invalid.

6.6  Side-channel attacks

   Side-channel attacks have the goal of subverting the security of a
   cryptographic system by exploiting its implementation
   characteristics.  One common side-channel attack is to measure system
   response time and derive information regarding conditions met by the
   data being processed.  Such attacks are known as "timing attacks".
   Discussion of timing and other side-channel attacks is outside of
   this document's scope.  However, we warn that there are places in the
   UMAC algorithm where timing information could be unintentionally
   leaked.  In particular, the POLY algorithm (Section 5.3.2) tests
   whether a value m is out of a particular range, and the behavior of
   the algorithm differs depending on the result.  If timing attacks are
   to be avoided, care should be given to equalize the computation time
   in both cases.  Timing attacks can also occur for more subtle
   reasons, including caching effects.

7  IANA Considerations

   This document has no actions for IANA.

8  Acknowledgments

   David McGrew and Scott Fluhrer, of Cisco Systems, played a
   significant role in improving UMAC by encouraging us to pay more
   attention to the performance of short messages.  Thanks go to Jim
   Schaad and to those who made helpful suggestions to the CFRG mailing
   list for improving this document during RFC consideration.  Black,
   Krovetz, and Rogaway have received support for this work under NSF
   awards 0208842, 0240000, 9624560, and a gift from Cisco Systems.
   Funding for the RFC Editor function is currently provided by the
   Internet Society.

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Appendix - Test vectors

   Following are some sample UMAC outputs over a collection of input
   values, using AES with 16-byte keys.  Let

     K  = "abcdefghijklmnop"                  // A 16-byte UMAC key
     N  = "bcdefghi"                          // An 8-byte nonce

   The tags generated by UMAC using key K and nonce N are:

     Message      32-bit Tag    64-bit Tag            96-bit Tag
     -------      ----------    ----------            ----------
     <empty>       113145FB  6E155FAD26900BE1  32FEDB100C79AD58F07FF764
     'a' * 3       3B91D102  44B5CB542F220104  185E4FE905CBA7BD85E4C2DC
     'a' * 2^10    599B350B  26BF2F5D60118BD9  7A54ABE04AF82D60FB298C3C
     'a' * 2^15    58DCF532  27F8EF643B0D118D  7B136BD911E4B734286EF2BE
     'a' * 2^20    DB6364D1  A4477E87E9F55853  F8ACFA3AC31CFEEA047F7B11
     'a' * 2^25    5109A660  2E2DBC36860A0A5F  72C6388BACE3ACE6FBF062D9
     'abc' * 1     ABF3A3A0  D4D7B9F6BD4FBFCF  883C3D4B97A61976FFCF2323
     'abc' * 500   ABEB3C8B  D4CF26DDEFD5C01A  8824A260C53C66A36C9260A6

   The first column lists a small sample of messages which are strings
   of repeated ASCII 'a' bytes or 'abc' strings.  The remaining columns
   give in hexadecimal the tags generated when UMAC is called with the
   corresponding message, nonce N and key K.

   When using key K and producing a 64-bit tag, the following relevant
   keys are generated:

                              Iteration 1         Iteration 2
                              -----------         -----------
     NH (Sec 5.2.2)

       K_1                     ACD79B4F            C6DFECA2
       K_2                     6EDA0D0E            964A710D
       K_3                     1625B603            AD7EDE4D
       K_4                     84F9FC93            A1D3935E
       K_5                     C6DFECA2            62EC8672
       K_256                   0BF0F56C            744C294F

     L2-HASH (Sec 5.3.1)

       k64             0094B8DD0137BEF8    01036F4D000E7E72

     L3-HASH (Sec 5.4.1)

       k_5                   056533C3A8          0504BF4D4E

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       k_6                   07591E062E          0126E922FF
       k_7                   0C2D30F89D          030C0399E2
       k_8                   046786437C          04C1CB8FED
       K2                      2E79F461            A74C03AA

   (Note that k_1 ... k_4 are not listed in this example because they
   are multiplied by zero in L3-HASH.)

   When generating a 64-bit tag on input "'abc' * 500", the following
   intermediate results are produced:

                   Iteration 1
     L1-HASH  E6096F94EDC45CAC1BEDCD0E7FDAA906
     L2-HASH  0000000000000000A6C537D7986FA4AA
     L3-HASH  05F86309

                   Iteration 2
     L1-HASH  2665EAD321CFAE79C82F3B90261641E5
     L2-HASH  00000000000000001D79EAF247B394BF
     L3-HASH  DF9AD858

   Concatenating the two L3-HASH results produces a final UHASH result
   of 05F86309DF9AD858.  The pad generated for nonce N is
   D13745D4304F1842, which when xor'ed with the L3-HASH result yields a
   Tag of D4CF26DDEFD5C01A.


Normative References

   [1]   FIPS-197, "Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)", National
         Institute of Standards and Technology, 2001.

Informative References

   [2]   D. Bernstein, "Stronger security bounds for permutations",
         unpublished manuscript, 2005.  This work refines "Stronger
         security bounds for Wegman-Carter-Shoup authenticators",
         Advances in Cryptology - EUROCRYPT 2005, LNCS vol. 3494, pp.
         164-180, Springer-Verlag, 2005.

   [3]   J. Black, S. Halevi, H. Krawczyk, T. Krovetz, and P. Rogaway,
         "UMAC: Fast and provably secure message authentication",
         Advances in Cryptology - CRYPTO '99, LNCS vol. 1666, pp.
         216-233, Springer-Verlag, 1999.

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   [4]   L. Carter and M. Wegman, "Universal classes of hash functions",
         Journal of Computer and System Sciences, 18 (1979), pp.

   [5]   S. Kent and R. Atkinson, "IP Encapsulating Security Payload
         (ESP)", RFC 2406, IETF, 1998.

   [6]   T. Krovetz, "Software-optimized universal hashing and message
         authentication", UMI Dissertation Services, 2000.

   [7]   M. Wegman and L. Carter, "New hash functions and their use in
         authentication and set equality", Journal of Computer and
         System Sciences, 22 (1981), pp. 265-279.

Author contact information

   Authors' Addresses

     John Black
     Department of Computer Science
     University of Colorado
     Boulder CO 80309


     Shai Halevi
     IBM T.J. Watson Research Center
     P.O. Box 704
     Yorktown Heights NY 10598


     Alejandro Hevia
     Department of Computer Science
     University of Chile
     Santiago 837-0459


     Hugo Krawczyk
     IBM Research
     19 Skyline Dr
     Hawthorne, NY 10533

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     Ted Krovetz
     Department of Computer Science
     California State University
     Sacramento CA 95819


     Phillip Rogaway
     Department of Computer Science
     University of California
     Davis CA 95616
     Department of Computer Science
     Faculty of Science
     Chiang Mai University
     Chiang Mai 50200


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