International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Estuardo Alpirez Bock


On the Security Goals of White-Box Cryptography 📺
We discuss existing and new security notions for white-box cryptography and comment on their suitability for Digital Rights Management and Mobile Payment Applications, the two prevalent use-cases of white-box cryptography. In particular, we put forward indistinguishability for white-box cryptography with hardware-binding (IND-WHW) as a new security notion that we deem central. We also discuss the security property of application-binding and explain the issues faced when defining it as a formal security notion. Based on our proposed notion for hardware-binding, we describe a possible white-box competition setup which assesses white-box implementations w.r.t. hardware-binding. Our proposed competition setup allows us to capture hardware-binding in a practically meaningful way.While some symmetric encryption schemes have been proven to admit plain white-box implementations, we show that not all secure symmetric encryption schemes are white-boxeable in the plain white-box attack scenario, i.e., without hardware-binding. Thus, even strong assumptions such as indistinguishability obfuscation cannot be used to provide secure white-box implementations for arbitrary ciphers. Perhaps surprisingly, our impossibility result does not carry over to the hardware-bound scenario. In particular, Alpirez Bock, Brzuska, Fischlin, Janson and Michiels (ePrint 2019/1014) proved a rather general feasibility result in the hardware-bound model. Equally important, the apparent theoretical distinction between the plain white-box model and the hardware-bound white-box model also translates into practically reduced attack capabilities as we explain in this paper.
Security Reductions for White-Box Key-Storage in Mobile Payments 📺
The goal of white-box cryptography is to provide security even when the cryptographic implementation is executed in adversarially controlled environments. White-box implementations nowadays appear in commercial products such as mobile payment applications, e.g., those certified by Mastercard. Interestingly, there, white-box cryptography is championed as a tool for secure storage of payment tokens, and importantly, the white-boxed storage functionality is bound to a hardware functionality to prevent code-lifting attacks. In this paper, we show that the approach of using hardware-binding and obfuscation for secure storage is conceptually sound. Following security specifications by Mastercard and also EMVCo, we first define security for a white-box key derivation functions (WKDF) that is bound to a hardware functionality. WKDFs with hardware-binding model a secure storage functionality, as the WKDFs in turn can be used to derive encryption keys for secure storage. We then provide a proof-of-concept construction of WKDFs based on pseudorandom functions (PRF) and obfuscation. To show that our use of cryptographic primitives is sound, we perform a cryptographic analysis and reduce the security of our WKDF to the cryptographic assumptions of indistinguishability obfuscation and PRF-security. The hardware-functionality that our WKDF is bound to is a PRF-like functionality. Obfuscation helps us to hide the secret key used for the verification, essentially emulating a signature functionality as is provided by the Android key store. We rigorously define the required security properties of a hardware-bound white-box payment application (WPAY) for generating and encrypting valid payment requests. We construct a WPAY, which uses a WKDF as a secure building block. We thereby show that a WKDF can be securely combined with any secure symmetric encryption scheme, including those based on standard ciphers such as AES.
White-Box Cryptography: Don’t Forget About Grey-Box Attacks
Despite the fact that all current scientific white-box approaches of standardized cryptographic primitives have been publicly broken, these attacks require knowledge of the internal data representation used by the implementation. In practice, the level of implementation knowledge required is only attainable through significant reverse-engineering efforts. In this paper, we describe new approaches to assess the security of white-box implementations which require neither knowledge about the look-up tables used nor expensive reverse-engineering efforts. We introduce the differential computation analysis (DCA) attack which is the software counterpart of the differential power analysis attack as applied by the cryptographic hardware community. Similarly, the differential fault analysis (DFA) attack is the software counterpart of fault injection attacks on cryptographic hardware. For DCA, we developed plugins to widely available dynamic binary instrumentation (DBI) frameworks to produce software execution traces which contain information about the memory addresses being accessed. For the DFA attack, we developed modified emulators and plugins for DBI frameworks that allow injecting faults at selected moments within the execution of the encryption or decryption process as well as a framework to automate static fault injection. To illustrate the effectiveness, we show how DCA and DFA can extract the secret key from numerous publicly available non-commercial white-box implementations of standardized cryptographic algorithms. These approaches allow one to extract the secret key material from white-box implementations significantly faster and without specific knowledge of the white-box design in an automated or semi-automated manner.