International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Daniel Jost


Overcoming Impossibility Results in Composable Security using Interval-Wise Guarantees 📺
Daniel Jost Ueli Maurer
Composable security definitions, at times called simulation-based definitions, provide strong security guarantees that hold in any context. However, they are also met with some skepticism due to many impossibility results; goals such as commitments and zero-knowledge that are achievable in a stand-alone sense were shown to be unachievable composably (without a setup) since provably no efficient simulator exists. In particular, in the context of adaptive security, the so-called "simulator commitment problem" arises: once a party gets corrupted, an efficient simulator is unable to be consistent with its pre-corruption outputs. A natural question is whether such impossibility results are unavoidable or only artifacts of frameworks being too restrictive. In this work, we propose a novel type of composable security statement that evades the commitment problem. Our new type is able to express the composable guarantees of schemes that previously did not have a clear composable understanding. To this end, we leverage the concept of system specifications in the Constructive Cryptography framework, capturing the conjunction of several interval-wise guarantees, each specifying the guarantees between two events. We develop the required theory and present the corresponding new composition theorem. We present three applications of our theory. First, we show in the context of symmetric encryption with adaptive corruption how our notion naturally captures the expected confidentiality guarantee---the messages remain confidential until either party gets corrupted---and that it can be achieved by any standard semantically secure scheme (negating the need for non-committing encryption). Second, we present a composable formalization of (so far only known to be standalone secure) commitment protocols, which is instantiable without a trusted setup like a CRS. We show it to be sufficient for being used in coin tossing over the telephone, one of the early intuitive applications of commitments. Third, we reexamine a result by Hofheinz, Matt, and Maurer [Asiacrypt'15] implying that IND-ID-CPA security is not the right notion for identity-based encryption, unmasking this claim as an unnecessary framework artifact.
Continuous Group Key Agreement with Active Security
A continuous group key agreement (CGKA) protocol allows a long-lived group of parties to agree on a continuous stream of fresh secret key material. CGKA protocols allow parties to join and leave mid-session but may neither rely on special group managers, trusted third parties, nor on any assumptions about if, when, or for how long members are online. CGKA captures the core of an emerging generation of highly practical end-to-end secure group messaging (SGM) protocols. In light of their practical origins, past work on CGKA protocols have been subject to stringent engineering and efficiency constraints at the cost of diminished security properties. In this work, we somewhat relax those constraints, instead considering progressively more powerful adversaries. To that end, we present 3 new security notions of increasing strength. Already the weakest of the 3 (passive security) captures attacks to which all prior CGKA constructions are vulnerable. Moreover, the 2 stronger (active security) notions even allow the adversary to use parties' exposed states combined with full network control to mount attacks. In particular, this is closely related to so-called insider attacks which involve malicious group members actively deviating from the protocol. Although insiders are of explicit interest to practical CGKA/SGM designers, our understanding of this class of attackers is still quite nascent. Indeed, we believe ours to be the first security notions in the literature to precisely formulate meaningful guarantees against (a broad class of) insiders. For each of the 3 new security notions we give a new CGKA scheme enjoying sub-linear (potentially even logarithmic) communication complexity in the number of group members (on par with the asymptotics of state-of-the-art practical constructions). We prove each scheme optimally secure, in the sense that the only security violations possible are those necessarily implied by correctness.
Efficient Ratcheting: Almost-Optimal Guarantees for Secure Messaging
In the era of mass surveillance and information breaches, privacy of Internet communication, and messaging in particular, is a growing concern. As secure messaging protocols are executed on the not-so-secure end-user devices, and because their sessions are long-lived, they aim to guarantee strong security even if secret states and local randomness can be exposed.The most basic security properties, including forward secrecy, can be achieved using standard techniques such as authenticated encryption. Modern protocols, such as Signal, go one step further and additionally provide the so-called backward secrecy, or healing from state exposures. These additional guarantees come at the price of a moderate efficiency loss (they require public-key primitives).On the opposite side of the security spectrum are the works by Jaeger and Stepanovs and by Poettering and Rösler, which characterize the optimal security a secure-messaging scheme can achieve. However, their proof-of-concept constructions suffer from an extreme efficiency loss compared to Signal. Moreover, this caveat seems inherent.This paper explores the area in between: our starting point are the basic, efficient constructions, and then we ask how far we can go towards the optimal security without losing too much efficiency. We present a construction with guarantees much stronger than those achieved by Signal, and slightly weaker than optimal, yet its efficiency is closer to that of Signal (only standard public-key cryptography is used).On a technical level, achieving optimal guarantees inherently requires key-updating public-key primitives, where the update information is allowed to be public. We consider secret update information instead. Since a state exposure temporally breaks confidentiality, we carefully design such secretly-updatable primitives whose security degrades gracefully if the supposedly secret update information leaks.
A Unified and Composable Take on Ratcheting
Ratcheting, an umbrella term for certain techniques for achieving secure messaging with strong guarantees, has spurred much interest in the cryptographic community, with several novel protocols proposed as of lately. Most of them are composed from several sub-protocols, often sharing similar ideas across different protocols. Thus, one could hope to reuse the sub-protocols to build new protocols achieving different security, efficiency, and usability trade-offs. This is especially desirable in view of the community’s current aim for group messaging, which has a significantly larger design space. However, the underlying ideas are usually not made explicit, but rather implicitly encoded in a (fairly complex) security game, primarily targeted at the overall security proof. This not only hinders modular protocol design, but also makes the suitability of a protocol for a particular application difficult to assess.In this work we demonstrate that ratcheting components can be modeled in a composable framework, allowing for their reuse in a modular fashion. To this end, we first propose an extension of the Constructive Cryptography framework by so-called global event histories, to allow for a clean modularization even if the component modules are not fully independent but actually subtly intertwined, as in most ratcheting protocols. Second, we model a unified, flexibly instantiable type of strong security statement for secure messaging within that framework. Third, we show that one can phrase strong guarantees for a number of sub-protocols from the existing literature in this model with only minor modifications, slightly stronger assumptions, and reasonably intuitive formalizations.When expressing existing protocols’ guarantees in a simulation-based framework, one has to address the so-called commitment problem. We do so by reflecting the removal of access to certain oracles under specific conditions, appearing in game-based security definitions, in the real world of our composable statements. We also propose a novel non-committing protocol for settings where the number of messages a party can send before receiving a reply is bounded.
Information-Theoretic Secret-Key Agreement: The Asymptotically Tight Relation Between the Secret-Key Rate and the Channel Quality Ratio
Information-theoretic secret-key agreement between two parties Alice and Bob is a well-studied problem that is provably impossible in a plain model with public (authenticated) communication, but is known to be possible in a model where the parties also have access to some correlated randomness. One particular type of such correlated randomness is the so-called satellite setting, where uniform random bits (e.g., sent by a satellite) are received by the parties and the adversary Eve over inherently noisy channels. The antenna size determines the error probability, and the antenna is the adversary’s limiting resource much as computing power is the limiting resource in traditional complexity-based security. The natural assumption about the adversary is that her antenna is at most Q times larger than both Alice’s and Bob’s antenna, where, to be realistic, Q can be very large.The goal of this paper is to characterize the secret-key rate per transmitted bit in terms of Q. Traditional results in this so-called satellite setting are phrased in terms of the error probabilities $$\epsilon _A$$ϵA, $$\epsilon _B$$ϵB, and $$\epsilon _E$$ϵE, of the binary symmetric channels through which the parties receive the bits and, quite surprisingly, the secret-key rate has been shown to be strictly positive unless Eve’s channel is perfect ($$\epsilon _E=0$$ϵE=0) or either Alice’s or Bob’s channel output is independent of the transmitted bit (i.e., $$\epsilon _A=0.5$$ϵA=0.5 or $$\epsilon _B=0.5$$ϵB=0.5). However, the best proven lower bound, if interpreted in terms of the channel quality ratio Q, is only exponentially small in Q. The main result of this paper is that the secret-key rate decreases asymptotically only like $$1/Q^2$$1/Q2 if the per-bit signal energy, affecting the quality of all channels, is treated as a system parameter that can be optimized. Moreover, this bound is tight if Alice and Bob have the same antenna sizes.Motivated by considering a fixed sending signal power, in which case the per-bit energy is inversely proportional to the bit-rate, we also propose a definition of the secret-key rate per second (rather than per transmitted bit) and prove that it decreases asymptotically only like 1/Q.