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Title: Realistic, strong and provable key exchange security
Author: Garratt, Luke
ISNI:       0000 0004 7430 6432
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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Authenticated key exchange protocols are ubiquitous in modern-day life. They are used to secure numerous types of data exchange, ranging from online banking to instant messaging conversations. In this thesis, we extend the state of the art for authenticated key exchange security, following the three themes of realistic, strong and provable. First, we tackle the theme of provable security. We develop generic techniques, applicable to a wide range of security models, to assist in proofs of security of cryptographic schemes. Specifically, a "game hopping" proof is a powerful technique to prove strong statements about the security of a protocol. However, the proof technique often involves esoteric and repetitive steps. We demystify the methodology and prove generic theorems to reduce the length and complexity of a wide class of game hopping proofs. Next, we use this new framework to analyse strong and previously unstudied formal security guarantees of authenticated key exchange protocols. These protocols are able to achieve strong security guarantees because they share and update state across sessions. Using our framework, we are able to push the state of the art by defying the folklore of what was previously thought provable of authenticated key exchange protocols. Specifically, it was previously thought that no protocol can achieve a security guarantee about communication with a peer if the peer was already fully compromised. We show that this is not true by formally defining a new concept, which we name post-compromise security. We capture an intuitive "self-healing" property of protocols. We then construct and formally prove protocols can achieve this strong security notion. Finally, we leverage all of this work to analyse realistic protocols. Signal, which is used to encrypt messages in WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Google Allo amongst others, is one such protocol we consider. Despite being used by billions of people, Signal was completely unstudied in the academic literature prior to this work. Two reasons for this were that Signal had no documentation at the time and it did not fit into existing models: it shares state across sessions and has over ten different types of key, most of which continually update. Despite its complexity, we are able to use the other work in this thesis to give the first ever analysis and proof of security of Signal. Overall, this thesis aims to bridge the gap between theory and practice in the current state of the art of authenticated key exchange protocols.
Supervisor: Cremers, Cas ; Simpson, Andrew C. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available