Post-Quantum Authenticated Encryption against Chosen-Ciphertext Side-Channel Attacks


  • Melissa Azouaoui NXP Semiconductors, Hamburg, Germany
  • Yulia Kuzovkova NXP Semiconductors, Hamburg, Germany
  • Tobias Schneider NXP Semiconductors, Hamburg, Germany
  • Christine van Vredendaal NXP Semiconductors, Hamburg, Germany



Post-Quantum Cryptography, Side-Channel Attacks, Chosen-Ciphertext Attacks, Authenticated Key Exchange


Over the last years, the side-channel analysis of Post-Quantum Cryptography (PQC) candidates in the NIST standardization initiative has received increased attention. In particular, it has been shown that some post-quantum Key Encapsulation Mechanisms (KEMs) are vulnerable to Chosen-Ciphertext Side-Channel Attacks (CC-SCA). These powerful attacks target the re-encryption step in the Fujisaki-Okamoto (FO) transform, which is commonly used to achieve CCA security in such schemes. To sufficiently protect PQC KEMs on embedded devices against such a powerful CC-SCA, masking at increasingly higher order is required, which induces a considerable overhead. In this work, we propose to use a conceptually simple construction, the ΕtS KEM, that alleviates the impact of CC-SCA. It uses the Encrypt-then-Sign (EtS) paradigm introduced by Zheng at ISW ’97 and further analyzed by An, Dodis and Rabin at EUROCRYPT ’02, and instantiates a postquantum authenticated KEM in the outsider-security model. While the construction is generic, we apply it to the CRYSTALS-Kyber KEM, relying on the CRYSTALSDilithium and Falcon signature schemes. We show that a CC-SCA-protected EtS KEM version of CRYSTALS-Kyber requires less than 10% of the cycles required for the CC-SCA-protected FO-based KEM, at the cost of additional data/communication overhead. We additionally show that the cost of protecting the EtS KEM against fault injection attacks, necessarily due to the added signature verification, remains negligible compared to the large cost of masking the FO transform at higher orders. Lastly, we discuss relevant embedded use cases for our EtS KEM construction.




How to Cite

Azouaoui, M., Kuzovkova, Y., Schneider, T., & van Vredendaal, C. (2022). Post-Quantum Authenticated Encryption against Chosen-Ciphertext Side-Channel Attacks. IACR Transactions on Cryptographic Hardware and Embedded Systems, 2022(4), 372–396.