Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2019/181

Lower Bounds for Leakage-Resilient Secret Sharing

Jesper Buus Nielsen and Mark Simkin

Abstract: Threshold secret sharing allows a dealer to split a secret into $n$ shares such that any authorized subset of cardinality at least $t$ of those shares efficiently reveals the secret, while at the same time any unauthorized subset of cardinality less than $t$ contains no information about the secret. Leakage-resilience requires that the secret remains hidden even if the unauthorized subset is given a bounded amount of additional leakage from every share.

In this work, we study leakage-resilient secret sharing schemes with information-theoretic security and prove a lower bound on the share size and the required amount randomness of any such scheme. We prove that for any leakage-resilient secret sharing scheme either the amount of randomness across all shares or the share size has to be linear in $n$. More concretely, for a secret sharing scheme with $p$-bit long shares, $\ell$-bit leakage per share, where $\widehat{t}$ shares uniquely define the remaining $n - \widehat{t}$ shares, it has to hold that $$ p \ge \frac{\ell (n - t)}{\widehat{t}}\ . $$

We use our lower bound to gain further insights into a question that was recently posed by Benhamouda et al. (CRYPTO'18), who ask to what extend existing regular secret sharing schemes already provide protection against leakage. The authors proved that Shamir's secret sharing is leakage-resilient for very large thresholds $t = n - \mathcal{O}(\log n)$ and conjectured that it is also $1$-bit leakage-resilient for any threshold that is a constant fraction of the total number of shares. We do not disprove their conjecture, but show that two mild and natural strengthenings thereof are false, thus concluding that their conjecture is essentially the best one could hope for.

The results described above only apply to secret sharing schemes with information-theoretic security, since the lower bound proof relies on an adversary that can enumerate all possible secret sharings and thus runs in time exponential in at least the share size $p$ and the full reconstruction threshold $\widehat{t}$. In addition, we present a conceptually simple and highly efficient attack for the specific case of $2$-out-of-$n$ Shamir secret sharing that only requires $1$ bit of leakage, has a running time of $\mathcal{O}(n)$ field operations, and could easily be run in practice by a computationally bounded adversary.

Category / Keywords: foundations / Lower Bound, Secret Sharing, Leakage-Resilience

Date: received 19 Feb 2019, last revised 26 Feb 2019

Contact author: jbn at cs au dk,simkin@cs au dk

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Version: 20190226:072014 (All versions of this report)

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