Secure Device Pairing based on a Visual Channel
Recently several researchers and practitioners have begun to address the problem of secure device pairing or how to set up secure communication between two devices without the assistance of a trusted third party. McCune, et al.  proposed Seeing-is-Believing (SiB), a system which uses a visual channel. The SiB visual channel consists of one device displaying the hash of its public key in the form of a two-dimensional barcode, and the other device reading this information using a photo camera. Strong mutual authentication in SiB requires running two separate unilateral authentication steps. In this paper, we show how strong mutual authentication can be achieved even with a unidirectional visual channel, where SiB could provide only a weaker property termed as presence. This could help reduce the SiB execution time and improve usability. By adopting recently proposed improved pairing protocols, we propose how visual channel authentication can be used even on devices that have very limited displaying capabilities, all the way down to a device whose display consists of a cheap single light-source, such as an LED. We also describe a new video codec that may be used to improve execution time of pairing in limited display devices, and can be used for other applications besides pairing.
Efficient Mutual Data Authentication Using Manually Authenticated Strings
Solutions for an easy and secure setup of a wireless connection between two devices are urgently needed for WLAN, Wireless USB, Bluetooth and similar standards for short range wireless communication. In this paper we analyse the SAS protocol by Vaudenay and propose a new three round protocol MA-3 for mutual data authentication based on a cryptographic commitment scheme and short manually authenticated out-of-band messages. We show that non-malleability of the commitment scheme is essential for the security of the SAS and the MA-3 schemes and that extractability or equivocability do not imply non-malleability. We also give new proofs of security for the SAS and MA-3 protocols and suggestions how to instantiate the MA-3 protocol in practise.
Man-in-the-Middle in Tunnelled Authentication Protocols
Recently new protocols have been proposed in IETF for protecting remote client authentication protocols by running them within a secure tunnel. Examples of such protocols are PIC, PEAP and EAP-TTLS. One goal of these new protocols is to enable the migration from legacy client authentication protocols to more secure protocols, e.g., from plain EAP type to, say, PEAP. In the new drafts, the security of the subsequent session credentials are based only on keys derived during the unilateral authentication where the network server is authenticated to the client. Client authentication is mentioned as an option in PEAP and EAP-TTLS, but is not mandated. Naturally, the PIC protocol does not even offer this option, because the goal of PIC is to obtain credentials that can be used for client authentication. In addition to running the authentication protocols within such tunnel it should also be possible to use them in legacy mode without any tunnelling so as to leverage the legacy advantages such as widespread use. In this paper we show that in practical situations, such a mixed mode usage opens up the possibility to run a man-in-the-middle attack for impersonating the legitimate client. For those well-designed client authentication protocols that already have a sufficient level of security, the use of tunnelling in the proposed form is a step backwards because they introduce a new vulnerability. The problem is due to the fact that the legacy client authentication protocol is not aware if it is run in protected or unprotected mode. We propose to solve the discovered problem by using a cryptographic binding between the client authentication protocol and the protection protocol.
Secure Vickrey Auctions without Threshold Trust
We argue that threshold trust is not an option in most of the real-life electronic auctions. We then propose two new cryptographic Vickrey auction schemes that involve, apart from the bidders and the seller $S$, an auction authority $A$ so that unless $S$ and $A$ collude the outcome of auctions will be correct, and moreover, $S$ will not get any information about the bids, while $A$ will learn bid statistics. Further extensions make it possible to decrease damage that colluding $S$ and $A$ can do, and to construct $(m+1)$st price auction schemes. The communication complexity between the $S$ and $A$ in medium-size auctions is at least one order of magnitude less than in the Naor-Pinkas-Sumner scheme.
Optimistic fair Exchange of Digital Signatures
We present a new protocol that allows two players to exchange digital signatures (including RSA and DSS) over the Internet in a fair way, so that either each player gets the other's signature, or neither player does. One obvious application is where the signatures represent items of value, for example, an electronic check or airline ticket; the protocol can also be adapted to exchange encrypted data. The protocol relies on a trusted third party, but is "optimistic," in that the third party is only needed in cases where one player attempts to cheat or simply crashes. This is an important property, as it greatly reduces the load on the third party, which in particular facilitates a more robust and secure implementation of the third party.