Exceptional procedure attack on elliptic curve cryptosystems

Tetsuya Izu, Tsuyoshi Takagi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


The scalar multiplication of elliptic curve based cryptosystems (ECC) is computed by repeatedly calling the addition formula that calculates the elliptic curve addition of two points. The addition formula involves several exceptional procedures so that implementers have to carefully consider their treatments. In this paper we study the exceptional procedure attack, which reveals the secret scalar using the error arisen from the exceptional procedures. Recently new forms of elliptic curves and addition formulas for ECC have been proposed, namely the Montgomery form, the Jacobi form, the Hessian form, and the Brier-Joye addition formula. They aim at improving security or efficiency of the underlying scalar multiplications. We analyze the effectiveness of the exceptional procedure attack to some addition formulas. We conclude that the exceptional procedure attack is infeasible against the curves whose order are prime, i.e., the recommended curves by several standards. However, the exceptional procedure attack on the Brier-Joye addition formula is feasible, because it yields non-standard exceptional points. We propose an attack that reveals a few bits of the secret scalar, provided that this multiplier is constant and fixed. By the experiment over the standard elliptic curves, we have found many non-standard exceptional points even though the standard addition formula over the curves has no exceptional point. When a new addition formula is developed, we should be cautious about the proposed attack.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-239
Number of pages16
JournalLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Publication statusPublished - 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


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