The second HEAT workshop on Fully Homomorphic Encryption (otherwise known as WHEAT) kicked off this morning in (disappointingly cloudy) Paris.
The first talk of the day was Martin Albrecht's invited talk on solving short secret LWE instances. This is joint work with Rachel Player and Sam Scott. He provided a clear summary of the state of the art in terms of algorithms available and thus set the grounds for the rest of the day. Attacks using parameter choices inspired by HElib and the LP model were discussed and where possible, estimate running times were provided. A partial conclusion was the latter should not be assumed. For a more detailed read, see https://eprint.iacr.org/2015/046.pdf.
Also discussed was RLWE security in the FHE case, a talk given by Guillaume Bonnoron. This is joint work with Caroline Fontaine. They present an attack on specific FHE parameter choices and use the FV scheme for the reason that they wish to avoid doing a Modulus Switch Operation (see for example https://eprint.iacr.org/2015/889.pdf for a description). The conclusion of this talk is that their attack does work, but FHE and RLWE are not broken, because it does not scale up. A bigger parameter $n$ leads to bigger errors. Whilst they took one day to complete the attack versus a previous 3.5 days (https://eprint.iacr.org/2015/176.pdf), this talk's final conclusion was that more cryptanalysis is needed.
The second invited talk in the afternoon was Leo Ducas', joint work with Martin Albrecht and Shi Bai. This discussed the subfield lattice attack on "over stretched NTRU assumptions"; for the full technical read, see https://eprint.iacr.org/2016/127.pdf. This attack is based on using a subfield of the field we are working in - they assume the latter is a power of two cyclotomic, but claim it can be done using any field which is Galois. We map down our RLWE instances using the (partial) norm map in order to solve a (hopefully) easier problem in the subfield. Given the right conditions, we can then map the solution we find back up and recover a short enough solution to carry through with the attack. The practicality grows with the modulus $q$, hence the "over stretched" condition. Although this does not seem (yet?) to affect the NTRU schemes used in practice, this talk's conclusion was to drop the NTRU assumption altogether.