Side channels in the McEliece PKC

Falko Strenzke, Erik Tews, H. Gregor Molter, Raphael Overbeck, Abdulhadi Shoufan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The McEliece public key cryptosystem (PKC) is regarded as secure in the presence of quantum computers because no efficient quantum algorithm is known for the underlying problems, which this cryptosystem is built upon. As we show in this paper, a straightforward implementation of this system may feature several side channels. Specifically, we present a Timing Attack which was executed successfully against a software implementation of the McEliece PKC. Furthermore, the critical system components for key generation and decryption are inspected to identify channels enabling power and cache attacks. Implementation aspects are proposed as countermeasures to face these attacks.

Original languageBritish English
Title of host publicationPost-Quantum Cryptography - Second International Workshop, PQCrypto 2008, Proceedings
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)3540884025, 9783540884026
StatePublished - 2008
Event2nd International Workshop on Post-Quantum Cryptography, PQCrypto 2008 - Cincinnati, OH, United States
Duration: 17 Oct 200819 Oct 2008

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume5299 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference2nd International Workshop on Post-Quantum Cryptography, PQCrypto 2008
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityCincinnati, OH


  • Post quantum cryptography
  • Side channel attack
  • Timing attack


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