1. Let $m = 6$, and let $\mathbb{Z}_m$ denote the set $\{0,…,m-1\}$. Let $X \mod m$ denote the remainder obtained when dividing $X$ by $m$.

    (a) Consider the symmetric encryption scheme in which the encryption of message $M \in \mathbb{Z}_m$ under key $K \in \mathbb{Z}_m$ is $M+K \mod m$. Is this encryption scheme perfectly secure? Why or Why not?

I'm having a lot of trouble understanding why the "X mod m" and all of the other modulo operations are relevant. I know it says let it denote the remainder obtained when dividing $X$ by $m$, but… the remainder of what? Why would the remainder be relevant?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Please consider writing the text by hand, not just dumping a picture, because it makes search easier (and someone else is more likely to benefit from your question). Cheers $\endgroup$
    – rath
    Commented Nov 29, 2013 at 22:48
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    $\begingroup$ @rath [+1] Nice idea, so I quoted the text of that image. (Sometimes I wonder how I spend my friday nights…) $\endgroup$
    – e-sushi
    Commented Nov 29, 2013 at 23:12

1 Answer 1


The modulo operator keeps the result of the addition of $M$ and $K$ within the set $Z$.

For example, if $m$ is 10, $M$ is 6 and $K$ is 5, $M + K$ would be 11 which is no longer in the set $Z$. Taking 11 mod 10 results in 1 which is in the set $Z$.

The definition of perfect security is:

An interesting special case is perfect security: an encryption algorithm is perfectly secure if a ciphertext produced using it provides no information about the plaintext without knowledge of the key. If E is a perfectly secure encryption function, for any fixed message m there must exist for each ciphertext c at least one key k such that $c = E_{k}(m)$. It has been proved that any cipher with the perfect secrecy property must use keys with effectively the same requirements as one-time pad keys.

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    $\begingroup$ It's not really "the Caesar cipher", sure the Caesar cipher uses this primitive internally but is certainly not perfectly secure, so this is somewhat misleading. Otherwise good answer +1 $\endgroup$
    – Thomas
    Commented Nov 30, 2013 at 3:48
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    $\begingroup$ Perfect secrecy and perfect security are not the same thing. OTP provides perfect secrecy. $\endgroup$
    – daniel
    Commented Dec 2, 2013 at 11:04

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