Theory of Cryptography

Volume 3876 of the series Lecture Notes in Computer Science pp 60-79

Ring Signatures: Stronger Definitions, and Constructions Without Random Oracles

  • Adam BenderAffiliated withDepartment of Computer Science, University of Maryland
  • , Jonathan KatzAffiliated withDepartment of Computer Science, University of Maryland
  • , Ruggero MorselliAffiliated withDepartment of Computer Science, University of Maryland


Ring signatures, first introduced by Rivest, Shamir, and Tauman, enable a user to sign a message so that a ring of possible signers (of which the user is a member) is identified, without revealing exactly which member of that ring actually generated the signature. In contrast to group signatures, ring signatures are completely “ad-hoc” and do not require any central authority or coordination among the various users (indeed, users do not even need to be aware of each other); furthermore, ring signature schemes grant users fine-grained control over the level of anonymity associated with any particular signature.

This paper has two main areas of focus. First, we examine previous definitions of security for ring signature schemes and suggest that most of these prior definitions are too weak, in the sense that they do not take into account certain realistic attacks. We propose new definitions of anonymity and unforgeability which address these threats, and then give separation results proving that our new notions are strictly stronger than previous ones. Next, we show two constructions of ring signature schemes in the standard model: one based on generic assumptions which satisfies our strongest definitions of security, and a second, more efficient scheme achieving weaker security guarantees and more limited functionality. These are the first constructions of ring signature schemes that do not rely on random oracles or ideal ciphers.