Technology Innovation Institute Launches UAE-first Cryptography Challenges to Enhance Online Security

May 17, 2023
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  • Year-long “TII McEliece Challenges’’ invite participants to assess concrete hardness of the renowned McEliece cryptosystem through solving multiple challenges

  • Challenges aim to strengthen understanding of cryptosystems used globally to protect privacy of individuals, organizations

  • To boost advancement of UAE’s advanced digital security capabilities


Abu Dhabi-UAE: 10 May, 2023 – Cryptography experts can now put their skills to the ultimate test. The Technology Innovation Institute (TII), a leading global scientific research center and the applied research pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), today announced the launch of “TII McEliece Challenges” – the UAE’s first-ever cryptography challenges aimed at evaluating the concrete hardness of the renowned McEliece cryptosystem (McEliece).

The McEliece cryptosystem is a public key encryption scheme with a strong reputation for being resilient to attacks. Led by TII’s Cryptography Research Center (CRC), participants will be able to validate the security of the McEliece cryptosystem and, in doing so, identify possible weaknesses.

Conducted over the course of a year, the challenges will publish multiple McEliece-based cryptanalysis problems with increasing levels of difficulty that explore three different tracks - Theoretical Key Recovery Algorithms, Practical Key Recovery, and Message Recovery.

TII’s challenges aim to strengthen the understanding of cryptosystems that are used globally on a daily basis to protect the privacy of individuals and corporations and keep their conversations and data confidential. A first of their kind in the UAE, TII’s strategic and timely initiative aims to encourage aspiring coders to test their skills and help boost the UAE’s credentials on a world stage. Well-aligned with the UAE’s National Innovation Strategy, TII is committed to enhancing the reliability and security of digital transactions and communications in the UAE, which in turn, contribute to strengthening and securing the national economy. The TII McEliece Challenges offer talented young innovators a platform to test their prowess and realize the national vision.

The TII McEliece Challenges are open to anyone with an interest in cryptography – individuals, students, scientists, cryptographers, researchers, and subject matter experts - who stand a chance to win from a prize pool of US$75,000. The most astute participants might find themselves on TII’s leaderboard as they work to ensure the McEliece system’s security and resilience as a leading candidate for post-quantum encryption. Highlighting the significance of the challenges, Dr. Najwa Aaraj, Chief Researcher, Cryptography Research Center, Technology Innovation Institute said: “In addition to providing breakthrough enhancements to the current McEliece cryptosystem, the challenges give us a first-hand look at how the UAE’s brilliant young minds work to solve complex issues and find novel remedies to some of the world’s toughest online problems. We hope the multiple tests we present to the participants and their outcomes will further strengthen and confirm the resilience of the McEliece system.”

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