A general quantitative cryptanalysis of permutation-only multimedia ciphers against plaintext attacks

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

183 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations


  • Shujun Li
  • Chengqing Li
  • Guanrong Chen
  • Nikolaos G. Bourbakis
  • Kwok-Tung Lo

Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-223
Journal / PublicationSignal Processing: Image Communication
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


In recent years secret permutations have been widely used for protecting different types of multimedia data, including speech files, digital images and videos. Based on a general model of permutation-only multimedia ciphers, this paper performs a quantitative cryptanalysis on the performance of these kind of ciphers against plaintext attacks. When the plaintext is of size M × N and with L different levels of values, the following quantitative cryptanalytic findings have been concluded under the assumption of a uniform distribution of each element in the plaintext: (1) all permutation-only multimedia ciphers are practically insecure against known/chosen-plaintext attacks in the sense that only O (logL (MN)) known/chosen plaintexts are sufficient to recover not less than (in an average sense) half elements of the plaintext; (2) the computational complexity of the known/chosen-plaintext attack is only O (n · (MN)2), where n is the number of known/chosen plaintexts used. When the plaintext has a non-uniform distribution, the number of required plaintexts and the computational complexity is also discussed. Experiments are given to demonstrate the real performance of the known-plaintext attack for a typical permutation-only image cipher. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Research Area(s)

  • Chosen-plaintext attack, Cryptanalysis, Image, Known-plaintext attack, Permutation-only multimedia encryption, Speech, Video

Citation Format(s)