How can I perform a division of two integers homomorphically? (Simplifying assumptions can be made if needed, that is, I am fine with dividing numbers that are whole and the result will be whole as well, e.g., simple divisions such as 4 divided by 2 are fine)

Given two ElGamal ciphertexts: $$ C_1 = (C^{1}_{1}, C^2_1) $$ $$ C_2 = (C^{1}_{2}, C^2_2) $$

I can multiply them homomorphically as follows: $$ C_r = (C^{1}_{1} \cdot C^{1}_{2} ,C^2_1 \cdot C^2_2) $$

The following does not seem to work to achieve division though: $$ C_r = (C^{1}_{1} \div C^{1}_{2} ,C^2_1 \div C^2_2) $$

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    $\begingroup$ Either way is fine. Both 'regular' division or multiplication with the multiplicative inverse would do if either can be achieved. $\endgroup$
    – savx2
    Dec 18, 2018 at 11:12
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    $\begingroup$ Why does the term by term division fail, then? Can you provide details? It seems to me that it works perfectly fine (for multiplication with the inverse). $\endgroup$ Dec 18, 2018 at 13:03
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    $\begingroup$ Given an ElGamal ciphertext, can you compute the multiplicative inverse of that plaintext? Think about this, given an ElGamal ciphertext, can you raise it to a power? Does it matter if the power is $-1$? $\endgroup$
    – mikeazo
    Dec 18, 2018 at 13:52

1 Answer 1


Let $G$ is a cyclic group with order $q$ and generator $g$.

Let $x$ be Alice's private key. The two messages $c_1$ and $c_2$ are encrypted with the public key of Alice;

$$c_1 = (g^{y_1}, m_1 \cdot g^{x y_1})$$

$$c_2 = (g^{y_2}, m_2 \cdot g^{x y_2})$$

Now to calculate $m_1/m_2$ in the encrypted values, calculate the inverse of $g^{y_2}$ and $m_2 \cdot g^{x y_2}$ in the group

$$ c_2'=\Big((g^{y_2})^{-1},(m_2 \cdot g^{x y_2} )^{-1}\Big) = (g^{-y_2},m_2^{-1} \cdot g^{-x y_2})$$

then multiply,

$$c_1 c_2' = (g^{y_1} g^{-y_2}, \;\; m_1 m_2^{-1} \cdot g^{x y_1} g^{- x y_2})$$

Now, check the decryption.

$$s = (g^{y_1} g^{-y_2})^x = g^{x y_1 } g^{-x y_2 } $$

$$s^{-1} = g^{-x y_1 } \cdot g^{x y_2 } $$

$$ s^{-1} \cdot m_1 m_2^{-1} \cdot g^{x y_1} g^{- x y_2} = m_1 m_2^{-1} \cdot g^{-x y_1 }g^{x y_1}\cdot g^{x y_2 } g^{- x y_2} = m_1 m_2^{-1}$$

Note: based on comments of Geoffroy and Mikeazo.


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