Understanding Cryptography by Christof Paar and Jan Pelzl - Chapter 1 Solutions - Ex1.14

- 2 mins

Exercise 1.14

An obvious approach to increase the security of a symmetric algorithm is to apply the same cipher twice, i.e.:

As is often the case in cryptography, things are very tricky and results are often different from the expected and/ or desired ones. In this problem we show that a double encryption with the affine cipher is only as secure as single encryption! Assume two affine ciphers and .

  1. Show that there is a single affine cipher which performs exactly the same encryption (and decryption) as the combination .
  2. Find the values for when and .
  3. For verification: (1) encrypt the letter K first with and the result with , and (2) encrypt the letter K with .
  4. Briefly describe what happens if an exhaustive key-search attack is applied to a double-encrypted affine ciphertext. Is the effective key space increased? Remark: The issue of multiple encryption is of great practical importance in the case of the Data Encryption Standard (DES), for which multiple encryption (in particular, triple encryption) does increase security considerably.


This solution is verified as correct by the fact that it produces sensible output which can be fed back in for confirmation.

1. Where and :

As such if you double encrypt with keys , this is equivalent to a single encryption with key:

2. For and and :

3. This can be confirmed by using the Python code I wrote for Ex 1.11 to make sure that the output is the same for both the double encryption, and the equivalent single encryption.

4. The keyspace does not increase by double encryption.

Since all can be reduced to an equivalent , then searching all is equivalent to searching all .

Thomas Busby

Thomas Busby

I write about computing stuff

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