Offline Witness Encryption

  • Hamza Abusalah
  • Georg Fuchsbauer
  • Krzysztof Pietrzak
Conference paper

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-39555-5_16

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9696)
Cite this paper as:
Abusalah H., Fuchsbauer G., Pietrzak K. (2016) Offline Witness Encryption. In: Manulis M., Sadeghi AR., Schneider S. (eds) Applied Cryptography and Network Security. ACNS 2016. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 9696. Springer, Cham


Witness encryption (WE) was introduced by Garg et al. [GGSW13]. A WE scheme is defined for some NP language L and lets a sender encrypt messages relative to instances x. A ciphertext for x can be decrypted using w witnessing \(x\in L\), but hides the message if \(x\notin L\). Garg et al. construct WE from multilinear maps and give another construction [GGH+13b] using indistinguishability obfuscation (iO) for circuits. Due to the reliance on such heavy tools, WE can currently hardly be implemented on powerful hardware and will unlikely be realizable on constrained devices like smart cards any time soon.

We construct a WE scheme where encryption is done by simply computing a Naor-Yung ciphertext (two CPA encryptions and a NIZK proof). To achieve this, our scheme has a setup phase, which outputs public parameters containing an obfuscated circuit (only required for decryption), two encryption keys and a common reference string (used for encryption). This setup need only be run once, and the parameters can be used for arbitrary many encryptions. Our scheme can also be turned into a functional WE scheme, where a message is encrypted w.r.t. a statement and a function f, and decryption with a witness w yields f(mw).

Our construction is inspired by the functional encryption scheme by Garg et al. and we prove (selective) security assuming iO and statistically simulation-sound NIZK. We give a construction of the latter in bilinear groups and combining it with ElGamal encryption, our ciphertexts are of size 1.3 kB at a 128-bit security level and can be computed on a smart card.


Witness encryption Indistinguishability obfuscation NIZK Groth-Sahai proofs 

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hamza Abusalah
    • 1
  • Georg Fuchsbauer
    • 2
  • Krzysztof Pietrzak
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Science and Technology AustriaKlosterneuburgAustria
  2. 2.Inria, ENS, CNRS and PSL Research UniversityParisFrance

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