International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Rongmao Chen


Subversion-Resilient Public Key Encryption with Practical Watchdogs 📺
Restoring the security of maliciously implemented cryptosystems has been widely considered challenging due to the fact that the subverted implementation could arbitrarily deviate from the official specification. Achieving security against adversaries that can arbitrarily subvert implementations seems to inherently require trusted component assumptions and/or architectural properties. At ASIACRYPT 2016, Russell et al. proposed a very useful model where a watchdog is used to test and approve individual components of implementation before or during deployment. Such a detection-based strategy has been shown very useful for designing a broad class of cryptographic schemes that are provable resilient to subversion. We consider Russell et al.'s watchdog model from a practical perspective. We find that the asymptotic definitional framework, while permitting strong positive theoretical results, does not yet provide practical solutions, due to the fact that the running time of a watchdog is only bounded by an abstract polynomial. Hence, in the worst case, the running time of the watchdog might exceed the running time of the adversary, which seems not very practical. We adopt Russell et al.'s watchdog model to the concrete security setting. We design the first subversion-resilient public-key encryption scheme, which additionally allows for extremely efficient watchdogs with only linear running time. At the core of our construction is a new variant of a combiner for key encapsulation mechanisms (KEMs) by Giacon et al. (PKC'18). We combine this construction with a new subversion-resilient randomness generator that also can be checked by a very efficient watchdog, even in constant time, which could be of independent interest for the design of other subversion-resilient cryptographic schemes with practical watchdogs. Our work thus shows how to apply Russell et al.'s watchdog model to design subversion-resilient cryptography with efficient and very practical watchdogs.
Receiver-Anonymity in Reradomizable RCCA-Secure Cryptosystems Resolved
In this work, we resolve the open problem raised by Prabhakaran and Rosulek at CRYPTO 2007, and present the first anonymous, rerandomizable, Replayable-CCA (RCCA) secure public key encryption scheme. This solution opens the door to numerous privacy-oriented applications with a highly desired RCCA security level. At the core of our construction is a non-trivial extension of smooth projective hash functions (Cramer and Shoup, EUROCRYPT 2002), and a modular generic framework developed for constructing Rand-RCCA-secure encryption schemes with receiver-anonymity. The framework gives an enhanced abstraction of the original Prabhakaran and Rosulek’s scheme (which was the first construction of Rand-RCCA-secure encryption in the standard model), where the most crucial enhancement is the first realization of the desirable property of receiver-anonymity, essential to privacy settings. It also serves as a conceptually more intuitive and generic understanding of RCCA security, which leads, for example, to new implementations of the notion. Finally, note that (since CCA security is not applicable to the privacy applications motivating our work) the concrete results and the conceptual advancement presented here, seem to substantially expand the power and relevance of the notion of Rand-RCCA-secure encryption.
Subvert KEM to Break DEM: Practical Algorithm-Substitution Attacks on Public-Key Encryption 📺
Rongmao Chen Xinyi Huang Moti Yung
Motivated by the widespread concern about mass surveillance of encrypted communications, Bellare \textit{et al.} introduced at CRYPTO 2014 the notion of Algorithm-Substitution Attack (ASA) where the legitimate encryption algorithm is replaced by a subverted one that aims to undetectably exfiltrate the secret key via ciphertexts. Practically implementable ASAs on various cryptographic primitives (Bellare \textit{et al.}, CRYPTO'14 \& CCS'15; Ateniese \textit{et al.}, CCS'15; Berndt and Li\'{s}kiewicz, CCS'17) have been constructed and analyzed, leaking the secret key successfully. Nevertheless, in spite of much current attention, the practical impact of ASAs (formulated originally for symmetric key cryptography) on public-key (PKE) encryption operations remains unclear, primarily since the encryption operation of PKE does not involve the secret key and previously known ASAs become relatively inefficient for leaking the plaintext due to the logarithmic upper bound of exfiltration rate (Berndt and Li\'{s}kiewicz, CCS'17). In this work, we formulate a practical ASA on PKE encryption algorithm which, perhaps surprisingly, turns out to be much more efficient and robust than existing ones, showing that ASAs on PKE schemes are far more dangerous than previously believed. We mainly target PKE of hybrid encryption which is the most prevalent way to employ PKE in the literature and in practical systems. The main strategy of our ASA is to subvert the underlying key encapsulation mechanism (KEM) so that the session key encapsulated could be efficiently extracted, which, in turn, breaks the data encapsulation mechanism (DEM) enabling us to learn the plaintext itself. Concretely, our non-black-box attack enables recovering the plaintext from only two successive ciphertexts and minimally depends on a short state of previous internal randomness. A widely used class of KEMs is shown to be subvertible by our powerful attack. Our attack relies on a novel identification and formalization of specific non-black-box yet general enough properties that yield practical ASAs on KEMs. More broadly, this may shed some light on exploring the structural weakness of other composed cryptographic primitives, which may make them susceptible to more dangerous ASAs that surpass the logarithmic upper bound of exfiltration rate on universal ASAs.