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.
While many tailor made card game protocols are known, the vast majority of those suffer from three main issues: lack of mechanisms for distributing financial rewards and punishing cheaters, lack of composability guarantees and little flexibility, focusing on the specific game of poker. Even though folklore holds that poker protocols can be used to play any card game, this conjecture remains unproven and, in fact, does not hold for a number of protocols (including recent results). We both tackle the problem of constructing protocols for general card games and initiate a treatment of such protocols in the Universal Composability (UC) framework, introducing an ideal functionality that captures general card games constructed from a set of core card operations. Based on this formalism, we introduce Royale, the first UC-secure general card games which supports financial rewards/penalties enforcement. We remark that Royale also yields the first UC-secure poker protocol. Interestingly, Royale performs better than most previous works (that do not have composability guarantees), which we highlight through a detailed concrete complexity analysis and benchmarks from a prototype implementation.
Certification of keys and attributes is in practice typically realized by a hierarchy of issuers. Revealing the full chain of issuers for certificate verification, however, can be a privacy issue since it can leak sensitive information about the issuer’s organizational structure or about the certificate owner. Delegatable anonymous credentials solve this problem and allow one to hide the full delegation (issuance) chain, providing privacy during both delegation and presentation of certificates. However, the existing delegatable credentials schemes are not efficient enough for practical use.
In this paper, we present the first hierarchical (or delegatable) anonymous credential system that is practical. To this end, we provide a surprisingly simple ideal functionality for delegatable credentials and present a generic construction that we prove secure in the UC model. We then give a concrete instantiation using a recent pairing-based signature scheme by Groth and describe a number of optimizations and efficiency improvements that can be made when implementing our concrete scheme. The latter might be of independent interest for other pairing-based schemes as well. Finally, we report on an implementation of our scheme in the context of transaction authentication for blockchain, and provide concrete performance figures.
Permissionless blockchains protocols such as Bitcoin are inherently limited in transaction throughput and latency. Current efforts to address this key issue focus on off-chain payment channels that can be combined in a Payment-Channel Network (PCN) to enable an unlimited number of payments without requiring to access the blockchain other than to register the initial and final capacity of each channel. While this approach paves the way for low latency and high throughput of payments, its deployment in practice raises several privacy concerns as well as technical challenges related to the inherently concurrent nature of payments that have not been sufficiently studied so far. In this work, we lay the foundations for privacy and concurrency in PCNs, presenting a formal definition in the Universal Composability framework as well as practical and provably secure solutions. In particular, we present Fulgor and Rayo. Fulgor is the first payment protocol for PCNs that provides provable privacy guarantees for PCNs and is fully compatible with the Bitcoin scripting system. However, Fulgor is a blocking protocol and therefore prone to deadlocks of concurrent payments as in currently available PCNs. Instead, Rayo is the first protocol for PCNs that enforces non-blocking progress (i.e., at least one of the concurrent payments terminates). We show through a new impossibility result that non-blocking progress necessarily comes at the cost of weaker privacy. At the core of Fulgor and Rayo is Multi-Hop HTLC, a new smart contract, compatible with the Bitcoin scripting system, that provides conditional payments while reducing running time and communication overhead with respect to previous approaches. Our performance evaluation of Fulgor and Rayo shows that a payment with 10 intermediate users takes as few as 5 seconds, thereby demonstrating their feasibility to be deployed in practice.
The analysis of real-world protocols, in particular key exchange protocols and protocols building on these protocols, is a very complex, error-prone, and tedious task. Besides the complexity of the protocols itself, one important reason for this is that the security of the protocols has to be reduced to the security of the underlying cryptographic primitives for every protocol time and again. We would therefore like to get rid of reduction proofs for real-world key exchange protocols as much as possible and in many cases altogether, also for higher-level protocols which use the exchanged keys. So far some first steps have been taken in this direction. But existing work is still quite limited, and, for example, does not support Diffie-Hellman (DH) key exchange, a prevalent cryptographic primitive for real-world protocols. In this paper, building on work by Kusters and Tuengerthal, we provide an ideal functionality in the universal composability setting which supports several common cryptographic primitives, including DH key exchange. This functionality helps to avoid reduction proofs in the analysis of real-world protocols and often eliminates them completely. We also propose a new general ideal key exchange functionality which allows higherlevel protocols to use exchanged keys in an ideal way. As a proof of concept, we apply our framework to three practical DH key exchange protocols, namely ISO 9798-3, SIGMA, and OPTLS.