Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2017/510

Hedging Public-Key Encryption in the Real World

Alexandra Boldyreva and Christopher Patton and Thomas Shrimpton

Abstract: Hedged PKE schemes are designed to provide useful security when the per-message randomness fails to be uniform, say, due to faulty implementations or adversarial actions. A simple and elegant theoretical approach to building such schemes works like this: Synthesize fresh random bits by hashing all of the encryption inputs, and use the resulting hash output as randomness for an underlying PKE scheme. The idea actually goes back to the Fujisaki-Okamoto transform for turning CPA-secure encryption into CCA-secure encryption, and is also used to build deterministic PKE schemes.

In practice, implementing this simple construction is surprisingly difficult, as the high- and mid-level APIs presented by the most commonly used crypto libraries (e.g. OpenSSL and forks thereof) do not permit one to specify the per-encryption randomness. Thus application developers are forced to piece together low-level functionalities and attend to any associated, security-critical algorithmic choices. Other approaches to hedged PKE present similar problems in practice.

We reconsider the matter of building hedged PKE schemes, and the security notions they aim to achieve. We lift the current best-possible security notion for hedged PKE (IND-CDA) from the CPA setting to the CCA setting, and then show how to achieve it using primitives that are readily available from high-level APIs. We also propose a new security notion, MM-CCA, which generalizes traditional IND-CCA to admit imperfect randomness. Like IND-CCA, and unlike IND-CDA, our notion gives the adversary the public key. We show that MM-CCA is achieved by RSA-OAEP in the random-oracle model; this is significant in practice because RSA-OAEP is directly available from high-level APIs across all libraries we surveyed. We sort out relationships among the various notions, and also develop new results for existing hedged PKE constructions.

Category / Keywords: public-key cryptography / hedged public-key encryption, cryptographic APIs

Original Publication (with major differences): IACR-CRYPTO-2017

Date: received 31 May 2017, last revised 28 Jul 2017

Contact author: cjpatton at ufl edu

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Note: Fix some minor typos.

Version: 20170728:201124 (All versions of this report)

Short URL:

Discussion forum: Show discussion | Start new discussion

[ Cryptology ePrint archive ]