Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2021/616

An Efficient and Generic Construction for Signal's Handshake (X3DH): Post-Quantum, State Leakage Secure, and Deniable

Keitaro Hashimoto and Shuichi Katsumata and Kris Kwiatkowski and Thomas Prest

Abstract: The Signal protocol is a secure instant messaging protocol that underlies the security of numerous applications such as WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook Messenger among many others. The Signal protocol consists of two sub-protocols known as the X3DH protocol and the double ratchet protocol, where the latter has recently gained much attention. For instance, Alwen, Coretti, and Dodis (Eurocrypt'19) provided a concrete security model along with a generic construction based on simple building blocks that are instantiable from versatile assumptions, including post-quantum ones. In contrast, as far as we are aware, works focusing on the X3DH protocol seem limited.

In this work, we cast the X3DH protocol as a specific type of authenticated key exchange (AKE) protocol, which we call a Signal-conforming AKE protocol, and formally define its security model based on the vast prior works on AKE protocols. We then provide the first efficient generic construction of a Signal-conforming AKE protocol based on standard cryptographic primitives such as key encapsulation mechanisms (KEM) and signature schemes. Specifically, this results in the first post-quantum secure replacement of the X3DH protocol on well-established assumptions. Similar to the X3DH protocol, our Signal-conforming AKE protocol offers a strong (or stronger) flavor of security, where the exchanged key remains secure even when all the non-trivial combinations of the long-term secrets and session-specific secrets are compromised. Moreover, our protocol has a weak flavor of deniability and we further show how to progressively strengthen it using ring signatures and/or non-interactive zero-knowledge proof systems. Finally, we provide a full-fledged, generic C implementation of our (weakly deniable) protocol. We instantiate it with several Round 3 candidates (finalists and alternates) to the NIST post-quantum standardization process and compare the resulting bandwidth and computation performances. Our implementation is publicly available.

Category / Keywords: cryptographic protocols / the Signal protocol, authenticated key exchange, post-quantum

Original Publication (with major differences): IACR-PKC-2021

Date: received 11 May 2021, last revised 29 Sep 2021

Contact author: hashimoto k au at m titech ac jp, shuichi katsumata000 at gmail com, thomas prest at pqshield com

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Version: 20210929:154049 (All versions of this report)

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