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Section: Application Domains

Security of cryptographic systems

The study of the security of asymmetric cryptographic systems comes as an application of the work carried out in algorithmic number theory and revolves around the development and the use of a small number of general purpose algorithms (lattice reduction, class groups in number fields, discrete logarithms in finite fields, ...). For example, the computation of generators of principal ideals of cyclotomic fields can be seen as one of these applications since these are used in a number of recent public key cryptosystems.

The cryptographic community is currently very actively assessing the threat coming for the development of quantum computers. Indeed, such computers would permit tremendous progress on many number theoretic problems such as factoring or discrete logarithm computations and would put the security of current cryptosystem under a major risk. For this reason, there is a large global research effort dedicated to finding alternative methods of securing data. For example, the US standardization agency called NIST has recently launched a standardization process around this issue. In this context, OURAGAN is part of the competition and has submitted a candidate (which has not been selected) [40]. This method is based on number-theoretic ideas involving a new presumably difficult problem concerning the Hamming distance of integers modulo large numbers of Mersenne.