International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Baiyu Li


Securing Approximate Homomorphic Encryption using Differential Privacy
Recent work of Li and Micciancio (Eurocrypt 2021) has shown that the traditional formulation of indistinguishabiity under chosen plaintext attack (IND-CPA) is not adequate to capture the security of approximate homomorphic encryption against passive adversaries, and identified a stronger IND-CPA^D security definition (IND-CPA with decryption oracles) as the appropriate security target for approximate encryption schemes. We show how to transform any approximate homomorphic encryption scheme achieving the weak IND-CPA security definition, into one which is provably IND-CPA^D secure, offering strong guarantees against realistic passive attacks. The method works by postprocessing the output of the decryption function with a mechanism satisfying an appropriate notion of differentially privacy (DP), adding an amount of noise tailored to the worst-case error growth of the homomorphic computation. We apply these results to the approximate homomorphic encryption scheme of Cheon, Kim, Kim, and Song (CKKS, Asiacrypt 2017), proving that adding Gaussian noise to the output of CKKS decryption suffices to achieve IND-CPA^D security. We precisely quantify how much Gaussian noise must be added by proving nearly matching upper and lower bounds, showing that one cannot hope to significantly reduce the amount of noise added in this post-processing step. Based on our upper and lower bounds, we propose parameters for the counter-measures recently adopted by open-source libraries implementing CKKS. Lastly, we investigate the plausible claim that smaller DP noise parameters might suffice to achieve IND-CPA^D-security for schemes supporting more accurate (dynamic, key dependent) estimates of ciphertext noise during decryption. Perhaps surprisingly, we show that this claim is false, and that DP mechanisms with noise parameters tailored to the error present in a given ciphertext, rather than worst-case error, are vulnerable to IND-CPA^D attacks.
On the Security of Homomorphic Encryption on Approximate Numbers 📺
We present passive attacks against CKKS, the homomorphic encryption scheme for arithmetic on approximate numbers presented at Asiacrypt 2017. The attack is both theoretically efficient (running in expected polynomial time) and very practical, leading to complete key recovery with high probability and very modest running times. We implemented and tested the attack against major open source homomorphic encryption libraries, including HEAAN, SEAL, HElib and PALISADE, and when computing several functions that often arise in applications of the CKKS scheme to machine learning on encrypted data, like mean and variance computations, and approximation of logistic and exponential functions using their Maclaurin series. The attack shows that the traditional formulation of IND-CPA security (or indistinguishability against chosen plaintext attacks) achieved by CKKS does not adequately captures security against passive adversaries when applied to approximate encryption schemes, and that a different, stronger definition is required to evaluate the security of such schemes. We provide a solid theoretical basis for the security evaluation of homomorphic encryption on approximate numbers (against passive attacks) by proposing new definitions, that naturally extend the traditional notion of IND-CPA security to the approximate computation setting. We propose both indistinguishability-based and simulation-based variants, as well as restricted versions of the definitions that limit the order and number of adversarial queries (as may be enforced by some applications). We prove implications and separations among different definitional variants, and discuss possible modifications to CKKS that may serve as a countermeasure to our attacks.
Homomorphic Encryption for Finite Automata
We describe a somewhat homomorphic GSW-like encryption scheme, natively encrypting matrices rather than just single elements. This scheme offers much better performance than existing homomorphic encryption schemes for evaluating encrypted (nondeterministic) finite automata (NFAs). Differently from GSW, we do not know how to reduce the security of this scheme from LWE, instead we reduce it from a stronger assumption, that can be thought of as an inhomogeneous variant of the NTRU assumption. This assumption (that we term iNTRU) may be useful and interesting in its own right, and we examine a few of its properties. We also examine methods to encode regular expressions as NFAs, and in particular explore a new optimization problem, motivated by our application to encrypted NFA evaluation. In this problem, we seek to minimize the number of states in an NFA for a given expression, subject to the constraint on the ambiguity of the NFA.
Equational Security Proofs of Oblivious Transfer Protocols
We exemplify and evaluate the use of the equational framework of Micciancio and Tessaro (ITCS 2013) by analyzing a number of concrete Oblivious Transfer protocols: a classic OT transformation to increase the message size, and the recent (so called “simplest”) OT protocol in the random oracle model of Chou and Orlandi (Latincrypt 2015), together with some simple variants. Our analysis uncovers subtle timing bugs or shortcomings in both protocols, or the OT definition typically employed when using them. In the case of the OT length extension transformation, we show that the protocol can be formally proved secure using a revised OT definition and a simple protocol modification. In the case of the “simplest” OT protocol, we show that it cannot be proved secure according to either the original or revised OT definition, in the sense that for any candidate simulator (expressible in the equational framework) there is an environment that distinguishes the real from the ideal system.