Please help me understand the security strength of McEliece variants prepared for Round 3. I looked at the specifications - https://classic.mceliece.org/nist/mceliece-20201010.pdf - it doesn't have the security strength information - normally other algorithms submitted to NIST usually carry that information in the specification that they submit.

ISARA implementation of Classic McEliece - "6960119" variant is 128 bits? and "8192128" variant 256 bits? Probably based on https://classic.mceliece.org/nist/mceliece-20190331.pdf (though this specification does not talk about the security strength)

What about the other variants submitted for Round 3? How about the NIST Level for these variants?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McEliece_cryptosystem says 80 bits of security for some of the variants. The description further says "In its round 3 submissions to the NIST post-quantum standardization the highest level of security, level 5 is given for parameter sets 6688128, 6960119, and 8192128. "

How about the other variants what is their security level?


1 Answer 1


Further search at this Round 3 Official Comment Newsgroup - found here https://csrc.nist.gov/CSRC/media/Projects/post-quantum-cryptography/documents/round-3/official-comments/Classic-McEliece-round3-official-comment.pdf


OP (Kirk Fleming) sets up these estimates

mceliece-3488-064 143
mceliece-4608-096 207
mceliece-6688-128 272
mceliece-6960-119 272
mceliece-8192-128 272

DJ Bernstein (from the submitters - the Classic McEliece team) doesn't appear to be too enthusiastic about those security strength bits.

  • $\begingroup$ doesn't appear to be too enthusiastic about those security strength bits – That's concerning, given how well Classic McEliece seems to be doing. $\endgroup$
    – forest
    Feb 28, 2021 at 1:30
  • $\begingroup$ I meant the response to Krik Fleming's estimates - please check out the thread. $\endgroup$
    – abhi-rao
    Mar 1, 2021 at 8:51

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