Paper 2014/956

Tamper Detection and Continuous Non-Malleable Codes

Zahra Jafargholi and Daniel Wichs


We consider a public and keyless code $(\Enc,\Dec)$ which is used to encode a message $m$ and derive a codeword $c = \Enc(m)$. The codeword can be adversarially tampered via a function $f \in \F$ from some tampering function family $\F$, resulting in a tampered value $c' = f(c)$. We study the different types of security guarantees that can be achieved in this scenario for different families $\F$ of tampering attacks. Firstly, we initiate the general study of tamper-detection codes, which must detect that tampering occurred and output $\Dec(c') = \bot$. We show that such codes exist for any family of functions $\F$ over $n$ bit codewords, as long as $|\F| < 2^{2^n}$ is sufficiently smaller than the set of all possible functions, and the functions $f \in \F$ are further restricted in two ways: (1) they can only have a few fixed points $x$ such that $f(x)=x$, (2) they must have high entropy of $f(x)$ over a random $x$. Such codes can also be made efficient when $|\F| = 2^{\poly(n)}$. For example, $\F$ can be the family of all low-degree polynomials excluding constant and identity polynomials. Such tamper-detection codes generalize the algebraic manipulation detection (AMD) codes of Cramer et al. (EUROCRYPT '08). Next, we revisit non-malleable codes, which were introduced by Dziembowski, Pietrzak and Wichs (ICS '10) and require that $\Dec(c')$ either decodes to the original message $m$, or to some unrelated value (possibly $\bot$) that doesn't provide any information about $m$. We give a modular construction of non-malleable codes by combining tamper-detection codes and leakage-resilient codes. This gives an alternate proof of the existence of non-malleable codes with optimal rate for any family $\F$ of size $|\F| < 2^{2^n}$, as well as efficient constructions for families of size $|\F| = 2^{\poly(n)}$. Finally, we initiate the general study of continuous non-malleable codes, which provide a non-malleability guarantee against an attacker that can tamper a codeword multiple times. We define several variants of the problem depending on: (I) whether tampering is persistent and each successive attack modifies the codeword that has been modified by previous attacks, or whether tampering is non-persistent and is always applied to the original codeword, (II) whether we can self-destruct and stop the experiment if a tampered codeword is ever detected to be invalid or whether the attacker can always tamper more. In the case of persistent tampering and self-destruct (weakest case), we get a broad existence results, essentially matching what's known for standard non-malleable codes. In the case of non-persistent tampering and no self-destruct (strongest case), we must further restrict the tampering functions to have few fixed points and high entropy. The two intermediate cases correspond to requiring only one of the above two restrictions. These results have applications in cryptography to related-key attack (RKA) security and to protecting devices against tampering attacks without requiring state or randomness.

Available format(s)
Publication info
A minor revision of an IACR publication in TCC 2015
related-key attackstamperinginformation theory
Contact author(s)
wichs @ ccs neu edu
2015-11-06: revised
2014-11-25: received
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Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Zahra Jafargholi and Daniel Wichs},
      title = {Tamper Detection and Continuous Non-Malleable Codes},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2014/956},
      year = {2014},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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