Paper 2022/303

Unlinkable Delegation of WebAuthn Credentials

Nick Frymann, Daniel Gardham, and Mark Manulis


The W3C's WebAuthn standard employs digital signatures to offer phishing protection and unlinkability on the web using authenticators which manage keys on behalf of users. This introduces challenges when the account owner wants to delegate certain rights to a proxy user, such as to access their accounts or perform actions on their behalf, as delegation must not undermine the decentralisation, unlinkability, and attestation properties provided by WebAuthn. We present two approaches, called remote and direct delegation of WebAuthn credentials, maintaining the standard's properties. Both approaches are compatible with Yubico's recent Asynchronous Remote Key Generation (ARKG) primitive proposed for backing up credentials. For remote delegation, the account owner stores delegation credentials at the relying party on behalf of proxies, whereas the direct variant uses a delegation-by-warrant approach, through which the proxy receives delegation credentials from the account owner and presents them later to the relying party. To realise direct delegation we introduce Proxy Signature with Unlinkable Warrants (PSUW), a new proxy signature scheme that extends WebAuthn's unlinkability property to proxy users and can be constructed generically from ARKG. We discuss an implementation of both delegation approaches, designed to be compatible with WebAuthn, including extensions required for CTAP, and provide a software-based prototype demonstrating overall feasibility. On the performance side, we observe only a minor increase of a few milliseconds in the signing and verification times for delegated WebAuthn credentials based on ARKG and PSUW primitives. We also discuss additional functionality, such as revocation and permissions management, and mention usability considerations.

Available format(s)
Public-key cryptography
Publication info
Preprint. MINOR revision.
WebAuthnFIDO2privacydelegationproxy signaturesauthentication
Contact author(s)
n frymann @ surrey ac uk
2022-03-07: received
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Nick Frymann and Daniel Gardham and Mark Manulis},
      title = {Unlinkable Delegation of WebAuthn Credentials},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2022/303},
      year = {2022},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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