Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
Highlights of the Year
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: Application Domains

Code Reconstruction

To evaluate the quality of a cryptographic algorithm, it is usually assumed that its specifications are public, as, in accordance with Kerckhoffs principle, it would be dangerous to rely, even partially, on the fact that the adversary does not know those specifications. However, this fundamental rule does not mean that the specifications are known to the attacker. In practice, before mounting a cryptanalysis, it is necessary to strip off the data. This reverse-engineering process is often subtle, even when the data formatting is not concealed on purpose. A typical case is interception: some raw data, not necessarily encrypted, is observed out of a noisy channel. To access the information, the whole communication system has first to be disassembled and every constituent reconstructed. A transmission system actually corresponds to a succession of elements (symbol mapping, scrambler, channel encoder, interleaver... ), and there exist many possibilities for each of them. In addition to the “preliminary to cryptanalysis” aspect, there are other links between those problems and cryptology. They share some scientific tools (algorithmics, discrete mathematics, probability...), but beyond that, there are some very strong similarities in the techniques.