Journal of Cryptology

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 42-82

First online:

Wildcarded Identity-Based Encryption

  • Michel AbdallaAffiliated withEcole Normale Supérieure, LIENS-CNRS-INRIA Email author 
  • , James BirkettAffiliated withInformation Security Institute, Queensland University of Technology
  • , Dario CatalanoAffiliated withDipartimento di Matematica e Informatica, Università di Catania
  • , Alexander W. DentAffiliated withInformation Security Group, Royal Holloway, University of London
  • , John Malone-LeeAffiliated withEMB Consultancy
  • , Gregory NevenAffiliated withIBM Zurich Research LaboratoryDepartment of Electrical Engineering, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
  • , Jacob C. N. SchuldtAffiliated withInstitute of Industrial Science, University of Tokyo
  • , Nigel P. SmartAffiliated withDepartment of Computer Science, University of Bristol

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


In this paper, we introduce a new primitive called identity-based encryption with wildcards, or WIBE for short. It allows a sender to encrypt messages to a whole range of receivers whose identities match a certain pattern. This pattern is defined through a sequence of fixed strings and wildcards, where any string can take the place of a wildcard in a matching identity. Our primitive can be applied to provide an intuitive way to send encrypted email to groups of users in a corporate hierarchy. We propose a full security notion and give efficient implementations meeting this notion under different pairing-related assumptions, both in the random oracle model and in the standard model.


Identity-based encryption Wildcard Pairings