Benaloh cryptosystem

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The Benaloh Cryptosystem is an extension of the Goldwasser-Micali cryptosystem (GM) created in 1994 by Josh (Cohen) Benaloh. The main improvement of the Benaloh Cryptosystem over GM is that longer blocks of data can be encrypted at once, whereas in GM each bit is encrypted individually.

Scheme Definition[edit]

Like many public key cryptosystems, this scheme works in the group (\mathbb{Z}/n\mathbb{Z})^* where n is a product of two large primes. This scheme is homomorphic and hence malleable.

Key Generation[edit]

A public/private key pair is generated as follows:

  • Choose a blocksize r.
  • Choose large primes p and q such that r divides (p-1), gcd(r, (p-1)/r) = 1 and gcd(q-1,r) = 1.
  • Set n = pq
  • Choose y \in (\mathbb{Z}/n\mathbb{Z})^* such that y^{(p-1)(q-1)/r} \not \equiv 1 \mod n.

The public key is then y,n, and the private key is the two primes p,q.

Message Encryption[edit]

To encrypt a message m, where m is taken to be an element in \mathbb{Z}/r\mathbb{Z}

  • Choose a random u \in (\mathbb{Z}/n\mathbb{Z})^*
  • Set E_r(m) = y^m u^r \mod n

Message Decryption[edit]

To understand decryption, we first notice that for any m,u we have

(y^m u^r)^{(p-1)(q-1)/r} \equiv y^{m(p-1)(q-1)/r} u^{(p-1)(q-1)} \equiv y^{m(p-1)(q-1)/r} \mod n

Since m < r and y^{(p-1)(q-1)/r} \not \equiv 1 \mod n, we can conclude that (y^m u^r)^{(p-1)(q-1)/r} \equiv 1 \mod n if and only if m = 0.

So if z = y^m u^r \mod n is an encryption of m, given the secret key p,q we can determine whether m=0. If r is small, we can decrypt z by doing an exhaustive search, i.e. decrypting the messages y-iz for i from 1 to r. By precomputing values, using the Baby-step giant-step algorithm, decryption can be done in time O(\sqrt{r}).


The security of this scheme rests on the Higher residuosity problem, specifically, given z,r and n where the factorization of n is unknown, it is computationally infeasible to determine whether z is an rth residue mod n, i.e. if there exists an x such that z \equiv x^r \mod n.


Original Paper (ps)