Signing with Codes
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Code-based cryptography is an area of classical cryptography in which cryptographic primitives rely on hard problems and trapdoor functions related to linear error-correcting codes. Since its inception in 1978, the area has produced the McEliece and the Niederreiter cryptosystems, multiple digital signature schemes, identification schemes and code-based hash functions. All of these are believed to be resistant to attacks by quantum computers. Hence, code-based cryptography represents a post-quantum alternative to the widespread number-theoretic systems. This thesis summarizes recent developments in the field of code-based cryptography, with a particular emphasis on code-based signature schemes. After a brief introduction and analysis of the McEliece and the Niederreiter cryptosystems, we discuss the currently unresolved issue of constructing a practical, yet provably secure signature scheme. A detailed analysis is provided for the Courtois, Finiasz and Sendrier signature scheme, along with the mCFS and parallel CFS variations. Finally, we discuss a recent proposal by Preetha et al. that attempts to solve the issue of provable security, currently failing in the CFS scheme case, by randomizing the public key construct. We conclude that, while the proposal is not yet practical, it represents an important advancement in the search for an ideal code-based signature scheme.