Paper 2013/237

Type-Based Analysis of Generic Key Management APIs (Long Version)

Pedro Adão, Riccardo Focardi, and Flaminia L. Luccio


In the past few years, cryptographic key management APIs have been shown to be subject to tricky attacks based on the improper use of cryptographic keys. In fact, real APIs provide mechanisms to declare the intended use of keys but they are not strong enough to provide key security. In this paper, we propose a simple imperative programming language for specifying strongly-typed APIs for the management of symmetric, asymmetric and signing keys. The language requires that type information is stored together with the key but it is independent of the actual low-level implementation. We develop a type-based analysis to prove the preservation of integrity and confidentiality of sensitive keys and we show that our abstraction is expressive enough to code realistic key management APIs.

Available format(s)
Publication info
Published elsewhere. Full Version of CSF2013
Key-Management APIsSecure HardwareType-based AnalysisPKCS#11
Contact author(s)
pedro adao @ ist utl pt
2013-05-01: revised
2013-04-29: received
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Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Pedro Adão and Riccardo Focardi and Flaminia L.  Luccio},
      title = {Type-Based Analysis of Generic Key Management APIs (Long Version)},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2013/237},
      year = {2013},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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