CONCUR 2005 – Concurrency Theory

Volume 3653 of the series Lecture Notes in Computer Science pp 186-201

Secrecy Despite Compromise: Types, Cryptography, and the Pi-Calculus

  • Andrew D. GordonAffiliated withMicrosoft Research
  • , Alan JeffreyAffiliated withLucent Technologies, DePaul University and Bell Labs

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A realistic threat model for cryptographic protocols or for language-based security should include a dynamically growing population of principals (or security levels), some of which may be compromised, that is, come under the control of the adversary. We explore such a threat model within a pi-calculus. A new process construct records the ordering between security levels, including the possibility of compromise. Another expresses the expectation of conditional secrecy of a message—that a particular message is unknown to the adversary unless particular levels are compromised. Our main technical contribution is the first system of secrecy types for a process calculus to support multiple, dynamically-generated security levels, together with the controlled compromise or downgrading of security levels. A series of examples illustrates the effectiveness of the type system in proving secrecy of messages, including dynamically-generated messages. It also demonstrates the improvement over prior work obtained by including a security ordering in the type system. Perhaps surprisingly, the soundness proof for our type system for symbolic cryptography is via a simple translation into a core typed pi-calculus, with no need to take symbolic cryptography as primitive.