On the Security of Ping-Pong Protocols

  • D. Dolev
  • S. Even
  • R. M. Karp


Consider the class of protocols, for two participants, in which the initiator applies a sequence of operators to a message M and sends it to the other participant; in each step, one of the participants applies a sequence of operators to the message received last, and sends it back. This “ping-pong” action continues several times, using sequences of operators as specified by the protocol. The set of operators may include public-key encryptions and decryptions.

We present an O(n3) algorithm which determines the security of a given protocol (of length n). This is an improvement of the algorithm of Dolev and Yao [DY].


Regular Language Security Problem Finite State Automaton Decryption Function Nondeterministic Automaton 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  1. [DH]
    W. Diffie and M. E. Hellman, “New Directions in Cryptography,” IEEE Trans. Infor. Th., Vol. IT-22, No. 6, November 1976, pp. 644–654.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. [RSA]
    R. L. Rivest, A. Shamir and L. Adleman, “A Method for Obtaining Digital Signatures and Public-Key Cryptosystems,” Comm. ACM, Vol. 21, February 1978, pp. 120–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. [NS]
    R. M. Needham and M. D. Schroeder, “Using Encryption for Authentication in Large Networks of Computers,” Comm. ACM, Vol. 21, No. 12, December 1978, pp. 993–999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. [DY]
    D. Dolev and A. C. Yao, “On the Security of Public Key Protocols,” to appear, IEEE Trans. on IT.Google Scholar
  5. [R]
    B. K. Rosen, “Tree-Manipulating Systems and Church Rosser Theorems,” JACM, Vol. 20, No. 1, January 1973, pp. 160–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Dolev
    • 1
  • S. Even
    • 2
  • R. M. Karp
    • 3
  1. 1.IBM Research LabSan JoseUSA
  2. 2.Computer ScienceTechnionHaifaIsrael
  3. 3.Computer ScienceUniversity of CABerkeleyUSA

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