Key establishment : proofs and refutations

Choo, Kim-Kwang Raymond (2006) Key establishment : proofs and refutations. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


We study the problem of secure key establishment. We critically examine the security models of Bellare and Rogaway (1993) and Canetti and Krawczyk (2001) in the computational complexity approach, as these models are central in the understanding of the provable security paradigm. We show that the partnership definition used in the three-party key distribution (3PKD) protocol of Bellare and Rogaway (1995) is flawed, which invalidates the proof for the 3PKD protocol. We present an improved protocol with a new proof of security. We identify several variants of the key sharing requirement (i.e., two entities who have completed matching sessions, partners, are required to accept the same session key). We then present a brief discussion about the key sharing requirement. We identify several variants of the Bellare and Rogaway (1993) model. We present a comparative study of the relative strengths of security notions between the several variants of the Bellare-Rogaway model and the Canetti-Krawczyk model. In our comparative study, we reveal a drawback in the Bellare, Pointcheval, and Rogaway (2000) model with the protocol of Abdalla and Pointcheval (2005) as a case study.

We prove a revised protocol of Boyd (1996) secure in the Bellare-Rogaway model. We then extend the model in order to allow more realistic adversary capabilities by incorporating the notion of resetting the long-term compromised key of some entity. This allows us to detect a known weakness of the protocol that cannot be captured in the original model. We also present an alternative protocol that is efficient in both messages and rounds. We prove the protocol secure in the extended model. We point out previously unknown flaws in several published protocols and a message authenticator of Bellare, Canetti, and Krawczyk (1998) by refuting claimed proofs of security. We also point out corresponding flaws in their existing proofs. We propose fixes to these protocols and their proofs. In some cases, we present new protocols with full proofs of security. We examine the role of session key construction in key establishment protocols, and demonstrate that a small change to the way that session keys are constructed can have significant benefits. Protocols that were proven secure in a restricted Bellare-Rogaway model can then be proven secure in the full model. We present a brief discussion on ways to construct session keys in key establishment protocols and also prove the protocol of Chen and Kudla (2003) secure in a less restrictive Bellare-Rogaway model. To complement the computational complexity approach, we provide a formal specification and machine analysis of the Bellare-Pointcheval-Rogaway model using an automated model checker, Simple Homomorphism Verification Tool (SHVT). We demonstrate that structural flaws in protocols can be revealed using our framework. We reveal previously unknown flaws in the unpublished preproceedings version of the protocol due to Jakobsson and Pointcheval (2001) and several published protocols with only heuristic security arguments. We conclude this thesis with a listing of some open problems that were encountered in the study.

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ID Code: 16262
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Boyd, Colin, Boyd, Colin, Cliff, Yvonne, Cliff, Yvonne, Maitland, Gregory, & Maitland, Gregory
Keywords: authentication, communications security, computational complexity, computer, security, cryptographic protocols, cryptography, Diffie–Hellman-based protocols, formal methods, formal specification and verification, identity-based protocols, key agreement protocols, key distribution, key establishment protocols, key exchange protocols, key transport protocols, password-based protocols, proofs of security, provable security, provably-secure protocols, security proofs
Department: Cross-Faculty Collaboration
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 03:59
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2016 06:45

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