International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Paul Grubbs


Asymmetric Message Franking: Content Moderation for Metadata-Private End-to-End Encryption
Content moderation is crucial for stopping abusive and harassing messages in online platforms. Existing moderation mechanisms, such as message franking, require platform providers to be able to associate user identifiers to encrypted messages. These mechanisms fail in metadata-private messaging systems, such as Signal, where users can hide their identities from platform providers. The key technical challenge preventing moderation is achieving cryptographic accountability while preserving deniability.In this work, we resolve this tension with a new cryptographic primitive: asymmetric message franking (AMF) schemes. We define strong security notions for AMF schemes, including the first formal treatment of deniability in moderation settings. We then construct, analyze, and implement an AMF scheme that is fast enough to use for content moderation of metadata-private messaging.
Fast Message Franking: From Invisible Salamanders to Encryptment 📺
Message franking enables cryptographically verifiable reporting of abusive messages in end-to-end encrypted messaging. Grubbs, Lu, and Ristenpart recently formalized the needed underlying primitive, what they call compactly committing authenticated encryption (AE), and analyze security of a number of approaches. But all known secure schemes are still slow compared to the fastest standard AE schemes. For this reason Facebook Messenger uses AES-GCM for franking of attachments such as images or videos.We show how to break Facebook’s attachment franking scheme: a malicious user can send an objectionable image to a recipient but that recipient cannot report it as abuse. The core problem stems from use of fast but non-committing AE, and so we build the fastest compactly committing AE schemes to date. To do so we introduce a new primitive, called encryptment, which captures the essential properties needed. We prove that, unfortunately, schemes with performance profile similar to AES-GCM won’t work. Instead, we show how to efficiently transform Merkle-Damgärd-style hash functions into secure encryptments, and how to efficiently build compactly committing AE from encryptment. Ultimately our main construction allows franking using just a single computation of SHA-256 or SHA-3. Encryptment proves useful for a variety of other applications, such as remotely keyed AE and concealments, and our results imply the first single-pass schemes in these settings as well.