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

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

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

212 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-223
Number of pages12
JournalSignal Processing: Image Communication
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2008


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'A general quantitative cryptanalysis of permutation-only multimedia ciphers against plaintext attacks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this