International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Thomas Zacharias


Astrolabous: A Universally Composable Time Lock Encryption Scheme 📺
Nikolaos Lamprou Myrto Arapinis Thomas Zacharias
In this work, we study the cryptographic primitive called time-lock encryption (TLE). The concept of TLE involves a party initiating the encryption of a message that one can only decrypt after a certain amount of time has elapsed. Following the universal composability (UC) paradigm introduced by Canetti [IEEE FOCS 2001], we formally abstract the concept of TLE into an ideal functionality in a flexible way. In addition, we provide a standalone definition for secure TLE schemes in a game-based style and we devise a hybrid protocol that relies on such a secure TLE scheme. We show that if the underlying TLE scheme satisfies the standalone game-based security definition, then our hybrid protocol UC realises the TLE functionality in the random oracle model. Finally, we present \emph{Astrolabous}, a TLE construction that satisfies our security definition, leading to the first UC realization of the TLE functionality. Interestingly, it is hard to prove UC secure any of the TLE construction proposed in the literature. The reason behind this difficulty relates to the UC framework itself. Intuitively, to capture semantic security, no information should be leaked regarding the plaintext in the ideal world, thus the ciphertext should not contain any information relating to the message. On the other hand, all ciphertexts will eventually open, resulting in a trivial distinction of the real from the ideal world in the standard model. We overcome this limitation by extending any secure TLE construction adopting the techniques of Nielsen [CRYPTO 2002] in the random oracle model. Specifically, the description of the extended TLE algorithms includes calls to the random oracle, allowing our simulator to equivocate. This extension can be applied to any TLE algorithm that satisfies our standalone game-based security definition, and in particular to Astrolabous.
Crowd Verifiable Zero-Knowledge and End-to-end Verifiable Multiparty Computation 📺
Auditing a secure multiparty computation (MPC) protocol entails the validation of the protocol transcript by a third party that is otherwise untrusted. In this work we introduce the concept of end-to-end verifiable MPC (VMPC), that requires the validation to provide a correctness guarantee even in the setting that all servers, trusted setup primitives and all the client systems utilized by the input-providing users of the MPC protocol are subverted by an adversary. To instantiate VMPC, we introduce a new concept in the setting of zero-knowlegde protocols that we term crowd verifiable zero-knowledge (CVZK). A CVZK protocol enables a prover to convince a set of verifiers about a certain statement, even though each one individually contributes a small amount of entropy for verification and some of them are adversarially controlled. Given CVZK, we present a VMPC protocol that is based on discrete-logarithm related assumptions. At the high level of adversity that VMPC is meant to withstand, it is infeasible to ensure perfect correctness, thus we investigate the classes of functions and verifiability relations that are feasible in our framework, and present a number of possible applications the underlying functions of which can be implemented via VMPC.
A Universally Composable Framework for the Privacy of Email Ecosystems
Email communication is amongst the most prominent online activities, and as such, can put sensitive information at risk. It is thus of high importance that internet email applications are designed in a privacy-aware manner and analyzed under a rigorous threat model. The Snowden revelations (2013) suggest that such a model should feature a global adversary, in light of the observational tools available. Furthermore, the fact that protecting metadata can be of equal importance as protecting the communication context implies that end-to-end encryption may be necessary, but it is not sufficient.With this in mind, we utilize the Universal Composability framework [Canetti, 2001] to introduce an expressive cryptographic model for email “ecosystems” that can formally and precisely capture various well-known privacy notions (unobservability, anonymity, unlinkability, etc.), by parameterizing the amount of leakage an ideal-world adversary (simulator) obtains from the email functionality.Equipped with our framework, we present and analyze the security of two email constructions that follow different directions in terms of the efficiency vs. privacy tradeoff. The first one achieves optimal security (only the online/offline mode of the users is leaked), but it is mainly of theoretical interest; the second one is based on parallel mixing [Golle and Juels, 2004] and is more practical, while it achieves anonymity with respect to users that have similar amount of sending and receiving activity.

Program Committees

Crypto 2024
PKC 2020