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Variable-Length Hill Cipher with MDS Key Matrix

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Executive Summary

The Hill Cipher is a classical symmetric cipher which breaks plaintext into blocks of size and then multiplies each block by an key matrix to yield ciphertext. However, it is well known that the Hill cipher succumbs to cryptanalysis relatively easily. As a result, there have been efforts to strengthen the cipher through the use of various techniques e.g. permuting rows and columns of the key matrix to encrypt each plaintext vector with a new key matrix. In this paper, the authors strengthen the security of the Hill cipher against a known-plaintext attack by encrypting each plaintext matrix by a variable-length key matrix obtained from a Maximum Distance Separable (MDS) master key matrix.

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