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Publication# Elliptic and Hyperelliptic Curves: A Practical Security Analysis

Abstract

Motivated by the advantages of using elliptic curves for discrete logarithm-based public-key cryptography, there is an active research area investigating the potential of using hyperelliptic curves of genus 2. For both types of curves, the best known algorithms to solve the discrete logarithm problem are generic attacks such as Pollard rho, for which it is well-known that the algorithm can be sped up when the target curve comes equipped with an efficiently computable automorphism. In this paper we incorporate all of the known optimizations (including those relating to the automorphism group) in order to perform a systematic security assessment of two elliptic curves and two hyperelliptic curves of genus 2. We use our software framework to give concrete estimates on the number of core years required to solve the discrete logarithm problem on four curves that target the 128-bit security level: on the standardized NIST CurveP-256, on a popular curve from the Barreto-Naehrig family, and on their respective analogues in genus 2. © 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

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Elliptic curve

In mathematics, an elliptic curve is a smooth, projective, algebraic curve of genus one, on which there is a specified point O. An elliptic curve is defined over a field K and describes points in K^2, the Cartesian product of K with itself. If the field's characteristic is different from 2 and 3, then the curve can be described as a plane algebraic curve which consists of solutions (x, y) for: for some coefficients a and b in K. The curve is required to be non-singular, which means that the curve has no cusps or self-intersections.

Discrete logarithm

In mathematics, for given real numbers a and b, the logarithm logb a is a number x such that bx = a. Analogously, in any group G, powers bk can be defined for all integers k, and the discrete logarithm logb a is an integer k such that bk = a. In number theory, the more commonly used term is index: we can write x = indr a (mod m) (read "the index of a to the base r modulo m") for rx ≡ a (mod m) if r is a primitive root of m and gcd(a,m) = 1. Discrete logarithms are quickly computable in a few special cases.

Hyperelliptic curve

In algebraic geometry, a hyperelliptic curve is an algebraic curve of genus g > 1, given by an equation of the form where f(x) is a polynomial of degree n = 2g + 1 > 4 or n = 2g + 2 > 4 with n distinct roots, and h(x) is a polynomial of degree < g + 2 (if the characteristic of the ground field is not 2, one can take h(x) = 0). A hyperelliptic function is an element of the function field of such a curve, or of the Jacobian variety on the curve; these two concepts are identical for elliptic functions, but different for hyperelliptic functions.