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- Automorphism Groups of Hyperelliptic Function Fields (2004)
- In this thesis we propose an efficient method to compute the automorphism group of an arbitrary hyperelliptic function field over a given constant field of odd characteristic as well as over its algebraic extensions. Beside theoretical applications, knowing the automorphism group also is useful in cryptography: The Jacobians of hyperelliptic curves have been suggested by Koblitz as groups for cryptographic purposes, because the discrete logarithm is believed to be hard in this kind of groups. In order to obtain "secure" Jacobians, it is necessary to prevent attacks like Pohlig/Hellman's and Duursma/Gaudry/Morain's. The latter is only feasible, if the corresponding function field has an automorphism of large order. According to a theorem by Madan, automorphisms seem to allow the Pohlig/Hellman attack, too. Hence, the function field of a secure Jacobian will most likely have trivial automorphism group. In other words: Computing the automorphism group of a hyperelliptic function field promises to be a quick test for insecure Jacobians. Let us outline our algorithm for computing the automorphism group Aut(F/k) of a hyperelliptic function field F/k. It is well known that Aut(F/k) is finite. For each possible subgroup U of Aut(F/k), Rolf Brandt has given a normal form for F if k is algebraically closed. Hence our problem reduces to deciding, whether a given hyperelliptic function field F=k(x,y), y^2=D_x has a defining equation of the form given by Brandt. This question can be answered using theorem III.18: We have F=k(t,u), u^2=D_t iff x is a fraction of linear polynomials in t and y=pu, where the factor p is a rational function w.r.t. t which can be determined explicitly from the coefficients of x. This condition can be checked efficiently using Gröbner basis techniques. With additional effort, it is also possible to compute Aut(F/k) if k is not algebraically closed. Investigating a huge number of examples one gets the impression that the above motivation of getting a quick test for insecure Jacobians is partially fulfilled: The computation of automorphism groups is quite fast using the suggested algorithm. Furthermore, fields with nontrivial automorphism groups seem to have insecure Jacobians. Only fields of small characteristic seem to have a reasonable chance of having nontrivial automorphisms. Hence, from a cryptographic point of view, computing Aut(F/k) seems to make sense whenever k has small characteristic.