A combined approach for hiding partial information in RSA
Partial information leakage in deterministic public-key cryptosystems refers to a problem that arises when information about either the plaintext or the key is leaked in subtle ways. Quite a common case is where there are a small number of possible messages that may be sent. An attacker may be able to crack the scheme simply by enumerating all the possible ciphertexts. Two methods are proposed for facing the partial information leakage problem in RSA that incorporate a random element into the encrypted message to increase the number of possible ciphertexts. The resulting scheme is, effectively, an RSA-like cryptosystem which exhibits probabilistic encryption. The first method involves encrypting several similar messages with RSA and then using the Quadratic Residuosity Problem (QRP) to mark the intended one. In this way, an adversary who has correctly guessed two or more of the ciphertexts is still in doubt about which message is the intended one. The cryptographic strength of the combined system is equal to the computational difficulty of factorising a large integer; ideally, this should be feasible. The second scheme uses error-correcting codes for accommodating the random component. The plaintext is processed with an error-correcting code and deliberately corrupted before encryption. The introduced corruption lies within the error-correcting ability of the code, so as to enable the recovery of the original message. The random corruption offers a vast number of possible ciphertexts corresponding to a given plaintext; hence an attacker cannot deduce any useful information from it. The proposed systems are compared to other cryptosystems sharing similar characteristics, in terms of execution time and ciphertext size, so as to determine their practical utility. Finally, parameters which determine the characteristics of the proposed schemes are also examined.