Paper 2011/034

Secure Authentication from a Weak Key, Without Leaking Information

Niek J. Bouman and Serge Fehr


We study the problem of authentication based on a weak key in the information-theoretic setting. A key is weak if its min-entropy is an arbitrary small fraction of its bit length. This problem has recently received considerable attention, with different solutions optimizing different parameters. We study the problem in an extended setting, where the weak key is as a one-time session key that is derived from a public source of randomness with the help of a (potentially also weak) long-term key. Our goal now is to authenticate a message by means of the weak session key in such a way that (nearly) no information on the long-term key is leaked. Ensuring privacy of the long-term key is vital for the long-term key to be re-usable. Previous work has not considered such a privacy issue, and previous solutions do not seem to satisfy this requirement. We show the existence of a practical four-round protocol that provides message authentication from a weak session key and that avoids non-negligible leakage on the long-term key. The security of our scheme also holds in the quantum setting where the adversary may have limited quantum side information on the weak session key. As an application of our scheme, we show the existence of an identification scheme in the bounded quantum storage model that is secure against a man-in-the-middle attack and that is truly password-based: it does not need any high entropy key, in contrast to the scheme proposed by Damgaard et al..

Note: Major revision: Previous claims about existence of look-ahead extractors against quantum side information have been withdrawn. This also has significant implications to our application. Improved exposition of look-ahead extractors against classical side information.

Available format(s)
Secret-key cryptography
Publication info
Published elsewhere. Full version of EUROCRYPT '11 paper
authenticationprivacy amplificationweak keypassword-based identificationquantum cryptography
Contact author(s)
bouman @ cwi nl
2012-09-13: last of 2 revisions
2011-01-20: received
See all versions
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Niek J.  Bouman and Serge Fehr},
      title = {Secure Authentication from a Weak Key, Without Leaking Information},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2011/034},
      year = {2011},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
Note: In order to protect the privacy of readers, does not use cookies or embedded third party content.