Static substitution-boxes in fixed structured block ciphers may make the system vulnerable to cryptanalysis. However, key-dependent dynamic substitution-boxes (S-boxes) assume to improve the security and robustness of the whole cryptosystem. This paper proposes to present the construction of key-dependent dynamic S-boxes having high nonlinearity. The proposed scheme involves the evolution of initially generated S-box for improved nonlinearity based on the fractional-order time-delayed Hopfield neural network. The cryptographic performance of the evolved S-box is assessed by using standard security parameters, including nonlinearity, strict avalanche criterion, bits independence criterion, differential uniformity, linear approximation probability, etc. The proposed scheme is able to evolve an S-box having mean nonlinearity of 111.25, strict avalanche criteria value of 0.5007, and differential uniformity of 10. The performance assessments demonstrate that the proposed scheme and S-box have excellent features, and are thus capable of offering high nonlinearity in the cryptosystem. The comparison analysis further confirms the improved security features of anticipated scheme and S-box, as compared to many existing chaos-based and other S-boxes.
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