International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Julia Len


Context Discovery and Commitment Attacks: How to Break CCM, EAX, SIV, and More
A line of recent work has highlighted the importance of context commitment security, which asks that authenticated encryption with associated data (AEAD) schemes will not decrypt the same adversarially-chosen ciphertext under two different, adversarially-chosen contexts (secret key, associated data, and nonce). Despite a spate of recent attacks, many open questions remain around context commitment; most obviously nothing is known about the commitment security of important schemes such as CCM, EAX, and SIV. We resolve these open questions, and more. Our approach is to, first, introduce a new framework that helps us more granularly define context commitment security in terms of what portions of a context are adversarially controlled. We go on to formulate a new security notion, called context discoverability, which can be viewed as analogous to preimage resistance from the hashing literature. We show that unrestricted context commitment security (the adversary controls all of the two contexts) implies context discoverability security for a class of schemes encompassing most schemes used in practice. Then, we show new context discovery attacks against a wide set of AEAD schemes, including CCM, EAX, SIV, GCM, and OCB3, and, by our general result, this gives new unrestricted context commitment attacks against them. Finally, we explore the case of restricted context commitment security for the original SIV mode, for which no prior attack techniques work (including our context discovery based ones). We are nevertheless able to give a novel $\bigO(2^{n/3})$ attack using Wagner's k-tree algorithm for the generalized birthday problem.
Authenticated Encryption with Key Identification 📺
Authenticated encryption with associated data (AEAD) forms the core of much of symmetric cryptography, yet the standard techniques for modeling AEAD assume recipients have no ambiguity about what secret key to use for decryption. This is divorced from what occurs in practice, such as in key management services, where a message recipient can store numerous keys and must identify the correct key before decrypting. Ad hoc solutions for identifying the intended key are deployed in practice, but these techniques can be inefficient and, in some cases, have even led to practical attacks. Notably, to date there has been no formal investigation of their security properties or efficacy. We fill this gap by providing the first formalization of nonce-based AEAD that supports key identification (AEAD-KI). Decryption now takes in a vector of secret keys and a ciphertext and must both identify the correct secret key and decrypt the ciphertext. We provide new formal security definitions, including new key robustness definitions and indistinguishability security notions. Finally, we show several different approaches for AEAD-KI and prove their security.
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.