Lazy Modulus Switching for the BKW Algorithm on LWE

our paper (with Jean-Charles FaugèreRobert Fitzpatrick and Ludovic Perret) on solving small secret LWE faster just hit ePrint (and was accepted for presentation at PKC 2014)

Abstract. Some recent constructions based on LWE do not sample the secret uniformly at random but rather from some distribution which produces small entries. The most prominent of these is the binary-LWE problem where the secret vector is sampled from {0, 1}* or {-1, 0, 1}*. We present a variant of the BKW algorithm for binary-LWE and other small secret variants and show that this variant reduces the complexity for solving binary-LWE. We also give estimates for the cost of solving binary-LWE instances in this setting and demonstrate the advantage of this BKW variant over standard BKW and lattice reduction techniques applied to the SIS problem. Our variant can be seen as a combination of the BKW algorithm with a lazy variant of modulus switching which might be of independent interest.

The code used to produce experimental data is available on bitbucket, source code to compute our complexity estimations is also available. Slides for a presentation discussing this work are also available on bitbucket.

Lattice Stuff

We — with Jean-Charles FaugèreRobert Fitzpatrick and Ludovic Perret – managed to finish our work on the cryptanalysis of all proposed parameters of the public-key encryption scheme proposed at PKC 2012 by Huang, Liu and Yang. The key observation is that the scheme can be viewed as an easy LWE instance:

In this paper, we investigate the security of a public-key encryption scheme introduced by Huang, Liu and Yang (HLY) at PKC’12. This new scheme can be provably reduced to the hardness of solving a set of quadratic equations whose coefficients of highest degree are chosen according to a discrete Gaussian distributions. The other terms being chosen uniformly at random. Such a problem is a variant of the classical problem of solving a system of non-linear equations (PoSSo), which is known to be hard for random systems. The main hypothesis of Huang, Liu and Yang is that their variant is not easier than solving PoSSo for random instances. In this paper, we disprove this hypothesis. To this end, we exploit the fact that the new problem proposed by Huang, Liu and Yang reduces to an easy instance of the Learning With Errors (LWE) problem. The main contribution of this paper is to show that security and efficiency are essentially incompatible for the HLY proposal. That is, one cannot find parameters which yield a secure and a practical scheme. For instance, we estimate that a public-key of at least 1.03 GB is required to achieve 80-bit security against known attacks. As a proof of concept, we present practical attacks against all the parameters proposed Huang, Liu and Yang. We have been able to recover the private-key in roughly one day for the first challenge proposed by HLY and in roughly three days for the second challenge.

Furthermore, I gave a talk yesterday on solving LWE with binary secret using a variant of the BKW algorithm at SIAM AG’13.

BKW: Update

We have updated our pre-print titled “On the Complexity of the BKW Algorithm on LWE” on ePrint.

There are two main changes and the reasons why I am mentioning this update here.

  1. We included a more thorough comparison with other approaches, in particular, with lattice reduction (reducing LWE to SIS). To our surprise, BKW is quite competitive even in relatively modest dimensions. For Regev’s and Lindner-Peikert’s parameter sets (as interpreted here) we get that BKW is at least as fast as BKZ starting in dimension n \approx 250, which I find very low (see Table 4 on page 19).
  2. We also provide an alternative approximating for the running time of BKZ. The standard estimate due to Lindner-Peikert is \log_2 T_{sec} = \log_2 1.8/\delta_0 - 110 where \delta_0 is the targeted root hermit factor. Interpolating estimates from the BKZ 2.0 simulator and reflecting on the doubly exponential running time of BKZ in the blocksize \beta we found: \log_2 T_{sec} = \log_2 0.009/\delta^2_0 - 27. However, since this might be controversial, we include estimates for both models.

On the Complexity of the BKW Algorithm on LWE

We (with Carlos CidJean-Charles FaugèreRobert Fitzpatrick and Ludovic Perret) have finally managed to put our work on BKW on ePrint.


In this paper we present a study of the complexity of the Blum-Kalai-Wasserman (BKW) algorithm when applied to the Learning with Errors (LWE) problem, by providing refined estimates for the data and computational effort requirements for solving concrete instances of the LWE problem. We apply this refined analysis to suggested parameters for various LWE-based cryptographic schemes from the literature and, as a result,  provide new upper bounds for the concrete hardness of these LWE-based schemes.

The source code of our (not very efficient!) implementation of BKW is available on bitbucket.