Verification Across Intellectual Property Boundaries

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In many industries, the share of software components provided by third-party suppliers is steadily increasing. As the suppliers seek to secure their intellectual property (IP) rights, the customer usually has no direct access to the suppliers’ source code, and is able to enforce the use of verification tools only by legal requirements. In turn, the supplier has no means to convince the customer about successful verification without revealing the source code. This paper presents a new approach to resolve the conflict between the IP interests of the supplier and the quality interests of the customer. We introduce a protocol in which a dedicated server (called the “amanat”) is controlled by both parties: the customer controls the verification task performed by the amanat, while the supplier controls the communication channels of the amanat to ensure that the amanat does not leak information about the source code. We argue that the protocol is both practically useful and mathematically sound. As the protocol is based on well-known (and relatively lightweight) cryptographic primitives, it allows a straightforward implementation on top of existing verification tool chains. To substantiate our security claims, we establish the correctness of the protocol by cryptographic reduction proofs.

Supported by the European FP6 project ECRYPT, the DFG grant FORTAS, and the Predictable Assembly from Certifiable Components (PACC) initiative at the Software Engineering Institute, Pittsburgh, USA.