Paper 2021/1298

Post-Quantum Authentication with Lightweight Cryptographic Primitives

Henrique Faria and José Manuel Valença


We propose to adapt ”low-algebra” digital signature schemes SPHINCS+ and PICNIC, present in the NIST-PQC contest, to the limitations of resource-bounded low-end devices. For this, we replaced the cryptographic primitives (hash functions and symmetric ciphers) of these schemes with lightweight alternatives presented in the NIST-LWC contest. With these specifically conceived primitives, we improve the performance of the signature schemes and still preserve the NIST’s security levels. Regarding SPHINCS+, besides replacing the hash function, we also take into consideration relaxing some parameters and introduce a new notion: security as life expectancy. Furthermore, we also introduce an attack to the SPHINCS+ scheme that takes advantage of the usage of FORS on this scheme and the way its leaves are calculated. Also, we give some solutions on how to avoid this attack. Additionally, a modification of PICNIC is introduced as PICNIC+WOTS where PICNIC is used to generate the secret keys for several WOTS+ signatures significantly reducing the size and signature time of each signature.

Available format(s)
Secret-key cryptography
Publication info
Preprint. Minor revision.
Contact author(s)
a82200 @ alunos uminho pt
jmvalenca @ di uminho pt
2021-09-28: received
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Henrique Faria and José Manuel Valença},
      title = {Post-Quantum Authentication with Lightweight Cryptographic Primitives},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2021/1298},
      year = {2021},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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