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Can machine learning be used to improve encryption algorithms e.g.image encryption algorithms that use ECC ?

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No. There is large consensus that:

  • There is nothing special about image encryption algorithm, they are just encryption algorithms.
  • ECC is useful for such algorithms inasmuch as they need to be made public-key. That's done by way of hybrid cryptography. Directly encrypting images with ECC cryptography would have terrible performance, thus is not worth serious consideration.
  • There's no clear need to improve any of these algorithms in a way where machine learning seems to be necessary or even helpful.

In a quite different direction: Machine learning also has a poor track record at attacking modern cryptographic algorithms, but that idea may not be worthless. Perhaps machines one day will learn cryptanalysis.

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    $\begingroup$ eprint.iacr.org/2020/957 seems a decent example of ML in attacking PUFs, though those aren't what I'd generally classify as cryptography. And eprint.iacr.org/2020/1235 tries to use it finding differentials in block ciphers, though it's not terribly good at it. $\endgroup$ – SAI Peregrinus Oct 15 at 15:00
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    $\begingroup$ With regards to ML-aided attacks, this thread and the references cited therein seem worth mentioning: crypto.stackexchange.com/questions/72175/… . Automated tools of any kind that can do interesting cryptanalysis could also potentially be very helpful in pushing the design of e.g. ultra lightweight ciphers further. I would therefore not be quite as pessimistic as you about machines maybe some day learning to design ciphers. $\endgroup$ – Polytropos Oct 15 at 22:01

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