Paper 2018/519

Fortified Universal Composability: Taking Advantage of Simple Secure Hardware Modules

Brandon Broadnax, Alexander Koch, Jeremias Mechler, Tobias Müller, Jörn Müller-Quade, and Matthias Nagel


Adaptive security is the established way to capture adversaries breaking into computers during secure computations. However, adaptive security does not prevent remote hacks where adversaries learn and modify a party’s secret inputs and outputs. We initiate the study of security notions which go beyond adaptive security. To achieve such a strong security notion, we utilize realistic simple remotely unhackable hardware modules such as air-gap switches and data diodes together with isolation assumptions. Such hardware modules have, to the best of our knowledge, not been used for secure multi-party computation so far. As a result, we are able to construct protocols with very strong composable security guarantees against remote hacks, which are not provided by mere adaptive security. We call our new notion Fortified UC security. Using only very few and very simple remotely unhackable hardware modules, we construct protocols where mounting remote attacks does not enable an adversary to learn or modify a party’s inputs and outputs unless he hacks a party via the input port before it has received its (first) input (or gains control over all parties). Hence, our protocols protect inputs and outputs against all remote attacks, except for hacks via the input port while a party is waiting for input. To achieve this level of security, the parties’ inputs and outputs are authenticated, masked and shared in our protocols in such a way that an adversary is unable to learn or modify them when gaining control over a party via a remote hack. It is important to note that the remotely unhackable hardware modules applied in this work are based on substantially weaker assumptions than the hardware tokens proposed by Katz at EUROCRYPT ‘07. In particular, they are not assumed to be physically tamper-proof, can thus not be passed to other (possibly malicious) parties, and are therefore not sufficient to circumvent the impossibility results in the Universal Composability (UC) framework. Our protocols therefore rely on well-established UC-complete setup assumptions in tandem with our remotely unhackable hardware modules to achieve composability.

Available format(s)
Cryptographic protocols
Publication info
Preprint. MINOR revision.
universal composabilitysecure hardware modules
Contact author(s)
brandon broadnax @ kit edu
2019-02-22: last of 3 revisions
2018-05-28: received
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      author = {Brandon Broadnax and Alexander Koch and Jeremias Mechler and Tobias Müller and Jörn Müller-Quade and Matthias Nagel},
      title = {Fortified Universal Composability: Taking Advantage of Simple Secure Hardware Modules},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2018/519},
      year = {2018},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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