International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Matilda Backendal

ORCID: 0000-0002-8677-8301


When Messages are Keys: Is HMAC a dual-PRF?
In Internet security protocols including TLS 1.3, KEMTLS, MLS and Noise, HMAC is being assumed to be a dual-PRF, meaning a PRF not only when keyed conventionally (through its first input), but also when "swapped" and keyed (unconventionally) through its second (message) input. We give the first in-depth analysis of the dual-PRF assumption on HMAC. For the swap case, we note that security does not hold in general, but completely characterize when it does; we show that HMAC is swap-PRF secure if and only if keys are restricted to sets satisfying a condition called feasibility, that we give, and that holds in applications. The sufficiency is shown by proof and the necessity by attacks. For the conventional PRF case, we fill a gap in the literature by proving PRF security of HMAC for keys of arbitrary length. Our proofs are in the standard model, make assumptions only on the compression function underlying the hash function, and give good bounds in the multi-user setting. The positive results are strengthened through achieving a new notion of variable key-length PRF security that guarantees security even if different users use keys of different lengths, as happens in practice.
Puncturable Key Wrapping and Its Applications 📺
We introduce puncturable key wrapping (PKW), a new cryptographic primitive that supports fine-grained forward security properties in symmetric key hierarchies. We develop syntax and security definitions, along with provably secure constructions for PKW from simpler components (AEAD schemes and puncturable PRFs). We show how PKW can be applied in two distinct scenarios. First, we show how to use PKW to achieve forward security for TLS 1.3 0-RTT session resumption, even when the server's long-term key for generating session tickets gets compromised. This extends and corrects a recent work of Aviram, Gellert, and Jager (Journal of Cryptology, 2021). Second, we show how to use PKW to build a protected file storage system with file shredding, wherein a client can outsource encrypted files to a potentially malicious or corrupted cloud server whilst achieving strong forward-security guarantees, relying only on local key updates.