Paper 2020/505

ConTra Corona: Contact Tracing against the Coronavirus by Bridging the Centralized–Decentralized Divide for Stronger Privacy

Wasilij Beskorovajnov, Felix Dörre, Gunnar Hartung, Alexander Koch, Jörn Müller-Quade, and Thorsten Strufe


Contact tracing is among the most important interventions to mitigate the spread of any pandemic, usually in the form of manual contact tracing. Smartphone-facilitated digital contact tracing may help to increase tracing capabilities and extend the coverage to those contacts one does not know in person. Most implemented protocols use local Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) communication to detect contagion-relevant proximity, together with cryptographic protections, as necessary to improve the privacy of the users of such a system. However, current decentralized protocols, including DP3T, do not sufficiently protect infected users from having their status revealed to their contacts, which raises fear of stigmatization. We alleviate this by proposing a new and practical solution with stronger privacy guarantees against active adversaries. It is based on the upload-what-you-observed paradigm, includes a separation of duties on the server side, and a mechanism to ensure that users cannot deduce which encounter caused a warning with high time resolution. Finally, we present a simulation-based security notion of digital contact tracing in the real–ideal setting, and prove the security of our protocol in this framework.

Note: Major rewrite with formal security model and proof, now extended to include the security modelling with passive server corruptions (see appendix). This is the full version of the ASIACRYPT paper; the main difference to the proceedings version is the added appendix.

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Publication info
A major revision of an IACR publication in ASIACRYPT 2021
Digital Contact TracingPrivacyTransmissible DiseasesActive SecurityAnonymitySecurity ModelingIdeal Functionality
Contact author(s)
beskorovajnov @ fzi de
felix doerre @ kit edu
gunnar hartung @ kit edu
alexander koch @ kit edu
joern mueller-quade @ kit edu
thorsten strufe @ kit edu
2021-11-04: last of 3 revisions
2020-04-30: received
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      author = {Wasilij Beskorovajnov and Felix Dörre and Gunnar Hartung and Alexander Koch and Jörn Müller-Quade and Thorsten Strufe},
      title = {ConTra Corona: Contact Tracing against the Coronavirus by Bridging the Centralized–Decentralized Divide for Stronger Privacy},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2020/505},
      year = {2020},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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