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A new paradigm for public key identification

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1 Author(s)
J. Stern ; Lab. d'Inf., Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris, France

The present paper investigates the possibility of designing zero-knowledge identification schemes based on hard problems from coding theory. Zero-knowledge proofs were introduced by Goldwasser, Micali, and Rackoff (1985). Their practical significance was soon demonstrated in the work of Fiat and Shamir [1986], who turned zero-knowledge proofs of quadratic residuosity into efficient means of establishing user identities. In the present paper, we propose a new identification scheme, based on error-correcting codes, which is zero-knowledge and seems of practical value. Furthermore, we describe several variants, including one which has an identity-based character. The security of our schemes depends on the hardness of finding a word of given syndrome and prescribed (small) weight with respect to some randomly generated binary linear error-correcting code. This is, of course, not the first attempt to design a cryptographic scheme using tools from coding theory. The difference is that identification protocols do not follow the public key paradigm based on trap-door functions and described in the seminal Diffie-Hellman paper [1976]. Rather, they only require one-way functions, which opens the way to using, in a rather direct manner, simple combinatorial problems of the kind provided by coding theory. The resulting schemes compare favorably to their number-theoretic analogs

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Information Theory  (Volume:42 ,  Issue: 6 )