International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Paper: The Layered Games Framework for Specifications and Analysis of Security Protocols

Amir Herzberg
Igal Yoffe
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Abstract: We establish rigorous foundations to the use of modular, layered design for building complex distributed systems. Layering is key to the design of the Internet and other distributed systems, hence such solid, theoretical foundations are essential, especially when considering adversarial settings, such as for security and cryptographic protocols. We define the basic concepts for modular, layered design: protocols, systems, configurations, executions, and models, and three relations: indistinguishability (between two systems), satisfaction (of a model by a system), and realization (by protocol, of one model over another model). We prove several basic properties, including the {\em layering lemma} and the {\em indistinguishability lemma}. The indistinguishability lemma shows that if two systems \Gamma_L, \Gamma_R are indistinguishable, and \Gamma_L satisfies some model M, then \Gamma_R also satisfies M. The layering lemma shows that given protocols {\pi_i}^u_{i=1}, if every protocol \pi_i realizes model M_i over model M_{i-1}, then the composite protocol \pi_{1||...||u} realizes model M_u over M_0. This allows specification, design and analysis of each layer independently, and combining the results to ensure properties of the complete system. Our framework is based on {\em games}, following many works in applied cryptography. This differs from existing frameworks allowing compositions of cryptographic protocols, based on {\em simulatability of ideal functionality}. Game-based models are more general and flexible than ideal functionality specifications, supporting different adversarial models and avoiding over-specification, which is essential for practical distributed systems and networks.
  title={The Layered Games Framework for Specifications and Analysis of Security Protocols},
  booktitle={IACR Eprint archive},
  keywords={foundations / Layered specifications, secure e-commerce layers, composability.},
  note={This is draft of full version; extended abstract (with some errors) will appear in proc. of TCC'08. 14052 received 8 Nov 2006, last revised 22 Jun 2008},
  author={Amir Herzberg and Igal Yoffe},