International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Sabine Oechsner


TARDIS: A Foundation of Time-Lock Puzzles in UC
Time-based primitives like time-lock puzzles (TLP) are finding widespread use in practical protocols, partially due to the surge of interest in the blockchain space where TLPs and related primitives are perceived to solve many problems. Unfortunately, the security claims are often shaky or plainly wrong since these primitives are used under composition. One reason is that TLPs are inherently not UC secure and time is tricky to model and use in the UC model. On the other hand, just specifying standalone notions of the intended task, left alone correctly using standalone notions like non-malleable TLPs only, might be hard or impossible for the given task. And even when possible a standalone secure primitive is harder to apply securely in practice afterwards as its behavior under composition is unclear. The ideal solution would be a model of TLPs in the UC framework to allow simple modular proofs. In this paper we provide a foundation for proving composable security of practical protocols using time-lock puzzles and related timed primitives in the UC model. We construct UC-secure TLPs based on random oracles and show that using random oracles is necessary. In order to prove security, we provide a simple and abstract way to reason about time in UC protocols. Finally, we demonstrate the usefulness of this foundation by constructing applications that are interesting in their own right, such as UC-secure two-party computation with output-independent abort.
Compact Zero-Knowledge Proofs of Small Hamming Weight
We introduce a new technique that allows to give a zero-knowledge proof that a committed vector has Hamming weight bounded by a given constant. The proof has unconditional soundness and is very compact: It has size independent of the length of the committed string, and for large fields, it has size corresponding to a constant number of commitments. We show five applications of the technique that play on a common theme, namely that our proof allows us to get malicious security at small overhead compared to semi-honest security: (1) actively secure k-out-of-n OT from black-box use of 1-out-of-2 OT, (2) separable accountable ring signatures, (3) more efficient preprocessing for the TinyTable secure two-party computation protocol, (4) mixing with public verifiability, and (5) PIR with security against a malicious client.