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Vulnerabilities of "McEliece in the World of Escher"



Dustin Moody, Ray A. Perlner


Recently, Gligoroski et al. proposed code-based encryption and signature schemes using list decoding, blockwise triangular private keys, and a nonuniform error pattern based on "generalized error sets." The general approach was referred to as "McEliece in the World of Escher". This paper demonstrates attacks which are significantly cheaper than the claimed security level of the parameters given by Gligoroski et al. We implemented an attack on the proposed 80-bit parameters which was able to recover private keys for both encryption and signatures in approximately 2 hours on a single laptop. We further find that increasing the parameters to avoid our attack will require parameters to grow by (at least) two orders of magnitude for encryption, and may not be achievable at all for signatures.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of the 7th International Workshop on Post-Quantum Cryptography
Conference Dates
February 24-26, 2016
Conference Location
Conference Title
7th International Conference on Post-Quantum Cryptography (PQCrypto 2016)


Information Set Decoding, Code-based Cryptography, McEliece, Post-Quantum Cryptography


Moody, D. and Perlner, R. (2016), Vulnerabilities of "McEliece in the World of Escher", Proceedings of the 7th International Workshop on Post-Quantum Cryptography, Fukuoka, -1, [online], (Accessed July 12, 2024)


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Created March 3, 2016, Updated November 10, 2018