Our main result is a novel quantum security notion (qINDqCPA) for PKE with a quantum indistinguishability phase, which closes the aforementioned gap. We show a distinguishing attack against code-based schemes and against LWE-based schemes with certain parameters. We also show that the canonical hybrid PKE-SKE encryption construction is secure, even if the underlying PKE scheme by itself is not. Finally, we classify quantum-resistant PKE schemes based on the applicability of our security notion and discuss concurrent and independent work.
Our core idea follows the approach of Gagliardoni et al. by using so-called type-2 operators for encrypting the challenge message. At first glance, type-2 operators appear unnatural for PKE, as the canonical way of building them requires both the secret and the public key. However, we identify a class of PKE schemes – which we call recoverable – and show that for this class type-2 operators require merely the public key. Moreover, recoverable schemes allow to realise type-2 operators even if they suffer from decryption failures, which in general thwarts the reversibility mandated by type-2 operators. Our work reveals that many real-world quantum-resistant PKE schemes, including most NIST PQC candidates and the canonical hybrid construction, are indeed recoverable.
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