Automated Verification of Timed Security Protocols with Clock Drift

  • Li LiEmail author
  • Jun Sun
  • Jin Song Dong
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9995)


Time is frequently used in security protocols to provide better security. For instance, critical credentials often have limited lifetime which improves the security against brute-force attacks. However, it is challenging to correctly use time in protocol design, due to the existence of clock drift in practice. In this work, we develop a systematic method to formally specify as well as automatically verify timed security protocols with clock drift. We first extend the previously proposed timed applied \(\pi \) -calculus as a formal specification language for timed protocols with clock drift. Then, we define its formal semantics based on timed logic rules, which facilitates efficient verification against various security properties. Clock drift is encoded as parameters in the rules. The verification result shows the constraints associated with clock drift that are required for the security of the protocol, e.g., the maximum drift should be less than some constant. We evaluate our method with multiple timed security protocols. We find a time-related security threat in the TESLA protocol, a complex time-related broadcast protocol for lossy channels, when the clocks used by different protocol participants do not share the same clock rate.


Security Protocol Clock Rate Local Clock Global Clock Clock Drift 
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.


  1. 1.
    Full paper, SPA tool and experiment models.
  2. 2.
    Abadi, M., Fournet, C.: Mobile values, new names, and secure communication. In: POPL, pp. 104–115 (2001)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Abadi, M., Needham, R.M.: Prudent engineering practice for cryptographic protocols. IEEE Trans. Softw. Eng. 22(1), 6–15 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bagnara, R., Ricci, E., Zaffanella, E., Hill, P.M.: Possibly not closed convex polyhedra and the parma polyhedra library. In: Hermenegildo, M.V., Puebla, G. (eds.) SAS 2002. LNCS, vol. 2477, pp. 213–229. Springer, Heidelberg (2002). doi: 10.1007/3-540-45789-5_17 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Blanchet, B.: An efficient cryptographic protocol verifier based on Prolog rules. In: CSFW, pp. 82–96. IEEE CS (2001)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Brands, S., Chaum, D.: Distance-Bounding Protocols. In: Helleseth, T. (ed.) EUROCRYPT 1993. LNCS, vol. 765, pp. 344–359. Springer, Heidelberg (1994). doi: 10.1007/3-540-48285-7_30 Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Burrows, M., Abadi, M., Needham, R.M.: A logic of authentication. ACM Trans. Comput. Syst. 8(1), 18–36 (1990)CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Capkun, S., Hubaux, J.-P.: Secure positioning in wireless networks. IEEE J. Sel. Areas Commun. 24(2), 221–232 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    CCITT. The directory authentication framework - Version 7, 1987. Draft Recommendation X.509Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Chothia, T., Smyth, B., Staite, C.: Automatically checking commitment protocols in proverif without false attacks. In: Focardi, R., Myers, A. (eds.) POST 2015. LNCS, vol. 9036, pp. 137–155. Springer, Heidelberg (2015). doi: 10.1007/978-3-662-46666-7_8 Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Cremers, C.J.F.: The Scyther tool: verification, falsification, and analysis of security protocols. In: Gupta, A., Malik, S. (eds.) CAV 2008. LNCS, vol. 5123, pp. 414–418. Springer, Heidelberg (2008). doi: 10.1007/978-3-540-70545-1_38 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Delzanno, G., Ganty, P.: Automatic verification of time sensitive cryptographic protocols. In: Jensen, K., Podelski, A. (eds.) TACAS 2004. LNCS, vol. 2988, pp. 342–356. Springer, Heidelberg (2004). doi: 10.1007/978-3-540-24730-2_27 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Dolev, D., Yao, A.C.-C.: On the security of public key protocols. IEEE Trans. Inf. Theory 29(2), 198–207 (1983)MathSciNetCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Li, L., Sun, J., Liu, Y., Dong, J.S.: TAuth: verifying timed security protocols. In: Merz, S., Pang, J. (eds.) ICFEM 2014. LNCS, vol. 8829, pp. 300–315. Springer, Heidelberg (2014). doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-11737-9_20 Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Li, L., Sun, J., Liu, Y., Dong, J.S.: Verifying parameterized timed security protocols. In: Bjørner, N., de Boer, F. (eds.) FM 2015. LNCS, vol. 9109, pp. 342–359. Springer, Heidelberg (2015). doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-19249-9_22 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Li, L., Sun, J., Liu, Y., Sun, M., Dong, J.S.: A formal specification and verification framework for timed security protocols. Technical report, Singapore University of Technology and Design (2016)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Lowe, G.: An attack on the Needham-Schroeder public-key authentication protocol. Inf. Proces. Lett. 56, 131–133 (1995)CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Lowe, G.: A family of attacks upon authentication protocols. Technical report, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Leicester (1997)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Meier, S., Schmidt, B., Cremers, C., Basin, D.: The TAMARIN prover for the symbolic analysis of security protocols. In: Sharygina, N., Veith, H. (eds.) CAV 2013. LNCS, vol. 8044, pp. 696–701. Springer, Heidelberg (2013). doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-39799-8_48 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Needham, R.M., Schroeder, M.D.: Using encryption for authentication in large networks of computers. Commun. ACM 21(12), 993–999 (1978)CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Perrig, A., Canetti, R., Song, D.X., Tygar, J.D.: Efficient and secure source authentication for multicast. In: NDSS (2001)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Perrig, A., Canetti, R., Tygar, J.D., Song, D.X.: Efficient authentication and signing of multicast streams over lossy channels. In: S&P, pp. 56–73 (2000)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Sun, K., Ning, P., Wang, C.: Secure and resilient clock synchronization in wireless sensor networks. IEEE J. Sel. Areas Commun. 24(2), 395–408 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Singapore University of Technology and DesignSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.National University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations