Benaloh cryptosystem

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The Benaloh Cryptosystem is an extension of the Goldwasser-Micali cryptosystem (GM) created in 1985 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.[1][2][3]

Scheme Definition[edit]

Like many public key cryptosystems, this scheme works in the group where n is a product of two large primes. This scheme is homomorphic and hence malleable.

Key Generation[edit]

Given block size r, a public/private key pair is generated as follows:

  1. Choose large primes p and q such that and
  2. Set
  3. Choose such that .
Note: If r is composite, it was pointed out by Fousse et al. in 2011[4] that the above conditions (i.e., those stated in the original paper) are insufficient to guarantee correct decryption, i.e., to guarantee that in all cases (as should be the case). To address this, the authors propose the following check: let be the prime factorization of r. Choose such that for each factor , it is the case that .
  1. Set

The public key is then , and the private key is .

Message Encryption[edit]

To encrypt message :

  1. Choose a random
  2. Set

Message Decryption[edit]

To decrypt a ciphertext :

  1. Compute
  2. Output , i.e., find m such that

To understand decryption, first notice that for any and we have:

To recover m from a, we take the discrete log of a base x. If r is small, we can recover m by an exhaustive search, i.e. checking if for all . For larger values of r, the Baby-step giant-step algorithm can be used to recover m in time and space.


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 .


  1. ^ Cohen, Josh; Ficsher, Michael (1985). A Robust and Verifiable Cryptographically Secure Election Scheme (PDF). Proceedings of 26th IEEE Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science. pp. 372–382.
  2. ^ Benaloh, Josh (1987). Verifiable Secret-Ballot Elections (Ph.D. thesis) (PDF).
  3. ^ Benaloh, Josh (1994). Dense Probabilistic Encryption (PDF). Workshop on Selected Areas of Cryptography. pp. 120–128.
  4. ^ Fousse, Laurent; Lafourcade, Pascal; Alnuaimi, Mohamed (2011). "Benaloh's Dense Probabilistic Encryption Revisited". arXiv:1008.2991 [cs.CR].