A Practical Attack on a Braid Group Based Cryptographic Protocol

Abstract

In this paper we present a practical heuristic attack on the Ko, Lee et al. key exchange protocol introduced at Crypto 2000 [11]. Using this attack, we were able to break the protocol in about 150 minutes with over 95% success rate for typical parameters. One of the ideas behind our attack is using Dehornoy’s handle reduction method as a counter measure to diffusion provided by the Garside normal form, and as a tool for simplifying braid words. Another idea employed in our attack is solving the decomposition problem in a braid group rather than the conjugacy search problem.