International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Unclonable Polymers and Their Cryptographic Applications

Ghada Almashaqbeh , University of Connecticut
Ran Canetti , Boston University
Yaniv Erlich , MyHeritage
Jonathan Gershoni , Tel Aviv University
Tal Malkin , Columbia
Itsik Pe'er , Columbia
Anna Roitburd-Berman , Tel Aviv University
Eran Tromer , Columbia and Tel Aviv University
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Presentation: Slides
Conference: EUROCRYPT 2022
Abstract: We propose a mechanism for generating and manipulating protein polymers to obtain a new type of *consumable storage* that exhibits intriguing cryptographic "self-destruct" properties, assuming the hardness of certain polymer-sequencing problems. To demonstrate the cryptographic potential of this technology, we first develop a formalism that captures (in a minimalistic way) the functionality and security properties provided by the technology. Next, using this technology, we construct and prove security of two cryptographic applications that are currently obtainable only via trusted hardware that implements logical circuitry (either classical or quantum). The first application is a password-controlled *secure vault* where the stored data is irrecoverably erased once a threshold of unsuccessful access attempts is reached. The second is (a somewhat relaxed version of) *one time programs*, namely a device that allows evaluating a secret function only a limited number of times before self-destructing, where each evaluation is made on a fresh user-chosen input. Finally, while our constructions, modeling, and analysis are designed to capture the proposed polymer-based technology, they are sufficiently general to be of potential independent interest.
Video from EUROCRYPT 2022
  title={Unclonable Polymers and Their Cryptographic Applications},
  author={Ghada Almashaqbeh and Ran Canetti and Yaniv Erlich and Jonathan Gershoni and Tal Malkin and Itsik Pe'er and Anna Roitburd-Berman and Eran Tromer},