Date: 20 Nov 2001

How to Leak a Secret

Abstract

In this paper we formalize the notion of a ring signature, which makes it possible to specify a set of possible signers without revealing which member actually produced the signature.Unlike group signatures, ring signatures have no group managers, no setup procedures, no revocation procedures, and no coordination:any user can choose any set of possible signers that includes himself,and sign any message by using his secret key and the others’ public keys,without getting their approval or assistance. Ring signatures provide an elegant way to leak authoritativ secrets in an anonymous way, to sign casual email in a way which can only be verified by its intended recipient, and to solve other problems in multiparty computations. The main contribution of this paper is a new construction of such signatures which is unconditionally signer-ambiguous, provably secure in the random oracle model,and exceptionally efficient:adding each ring member increases the cost of signing or verifying by a single modular multiplication and a single symmetric encryption.