International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research

IACR News item: 24 September 2021

Loïs Huguenin-Dumittan, Serge Vaudenay
ePrint Report ePrint Report
Combining several primitives together to offer greater security is an old idea in cryptography. Recently, this concept has resurfaced as it could be used to improve trust in new Post-Quantum (PQ) schemes and smooth the transition to PQ cryptography. In particular, several ways to combine key exchange mechanisms (KEMs) into a secure hybrid KEM have been proposed. In this work, we observe that most PQ KEMs are built using a variant of the Fujisaki-Okamoto (FO) transform. Thus, we propose several efficient combiners that take OW-CPA public-key encryption schemes (PKEs) and directly build hybrid IND-CCA KEMs. Our constructions are secure in the ROM and QROM and can be seen as generalizations of the FO transform. We also study how the hash functions (ROs) used in our transforms can be combined in order to improve efficiency and security. In a second part, we implement a hybrid KEM using one of our combiners as a proof-of-concept and benchmark it. More precisely, we build a hybrid IND-CCA KEM from the CPA-secure versions of HQC and LAC, two NIST Round 2 PQ proposals. We show that the resulting KEM offers comparable performances to HQC, thus improving security at a small cost. Finally, we discuss which PQ schemes should be combined in order to offer the best efficiency/security trade-off.

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