International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Francesco Migliaro


Anamorphic Encryption: New Constructions and Homomorphic Realizations
Dario Catalano Emanuele Giunta Francesco Migliaro
The elegant paradigm of Anamorphic Encryption (Persiano et al., Eurocrypt 2022) considers the question of establishing a private communication in a world controlled by a dictator. The challenge is to allow two users, sharing some secret anamorphic key, to exchange covert messages without the dictator noticing, even when the latter has full access to the regular secret keys. Over the last year several works con- sidered this question and proposed constructions, novel extensions and strengthened definitions. In this work we make progress on the study of this primitive in three main directions. First, we show that two general and well established encryption paradigms, namely hybrid encryption and the IBE-to-CCA transform, admit very simple and natural anamorphic extensions. Next, we show that anamorphism, far from being a phenomenon isolated to "basic" encryption schemes, extends also to homomorphic encryption. We show that some existing homomorphic schemes, (and most notably the fully homomorphic one by Gentry, Sahai and Waters) can be made anamorphic, while retaining their homomorphic properties both with respect to the regular and the covert message. Finally we refine the notion of anamorphic encryption by envisioning the possibility of splitting the anamorphic key into an encryption component (that only allows to encrypt covert messages) and a decryption compo- nent. This makes possible for a receiver to set up several, independent, covert channels associated with a single covert key.
Limits of Black-Box Anamorphic Encryption
Dario Catalano Emanuele Giunta Francesco Migliaro
(Receiver) Anamorphic encryption, introduced by Persiano et al. at Eurocrypt 2022, considers the question of achieving private communication in a world where secret decryption keys are under the control of a dictator. The challenge here is to be able to establish a secret communication channel to exchange covert (i.e. anamorphic) messages on top of some already deployed public key encryption scheme. Over the last few years several works addressed this challenge by show- ing new constructions, refined notions and extensions. Most of these con- structions, however, are either ad hoc, in the sense that they build upon specific properties of the underlying PKE, or impose severe restrictions on the size of the underlying anamorphic message space. In this paper we consider the question of whether it is possible to have realizations of the primitive that are both generic and allow for large anamorphic message spaces. We give strong indications that, unfortu- nately, this is not the case. Our first result shows that any black-box realization of the primitive, i.e. any realization that accesses the underlying PKE only via oracle calls, must have an anamorphic message space of size at most O(poly(λ)) (λ security parameter). Even worse, if one aims at stronger variants of the primitive (and, specif- ically, the notion of asymmetric anamorphic encryption, recently pro- posed by Catalano et al.) we show that such black-box realizations are plainly impossible, i.e. no matter how small the anamorphic message space is. Finally, we show that our impossibility results are rather tight: indeed, by making more specific assumptions on the underlying PKE, it becomes possible to build generic AE where the anamorphic message space is of size Ω(2^λ).