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 contributionAcademicpeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


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 languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPost-Quantum Cryptography
Subtitle of host publicationSecond International Workshop, PQCrypto 2008, Cincinnati, OH, USA, October 17-19, 2008, Proceedings
EditorsJohannes A. Buchmann, Jintai Ding
Place of PublicationBerlin
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-540-88403-3
ISBN (Print)978-3-540-88402-6
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes
Event2nd International Workshop on Post-Quantum Cryptography, PQCrypto 2008 - Cincinnati, United States
Duration: 17 Oct 200819 Oct 2008
Conference number: 2

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference2nd International Workshop on Post-Quantum Cryptography, PQCrypto 2008
Abbreviated titlePQCrypto
Country/TerritoryUnited States
City Cincinnati


  • Side channel attack
  • Timing attack
  • Post quantum cryptography


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