International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Rebecca Schwerdt


Sender-binding Key Encapsulation
Secure communication is gained by combining encryption with authentication. In real-world applications encryption commonly takes the form of KEM-DEM hybrid encryption, which is combined with ideal authentication. The pivotal question is how weak the employed key encapsulation mechanism (KEM) is allowed to be to still yield universally composable (UC) secure communication when paired with symmetric encryption and ideal authentication. This question has so far been addressed for public-key encryption (PKE) only, showing that encryption does not need to be stronger than sender-binding CPA, which binds the CPA secure ciphertext non-malleably to the sender ID. For hybrid encryption, prior research unanimously reaches for CCA2 secure encryption which is unnecessarily strong. Answering this research question is vital to develop more efficient and feasible protocols for real-world secure communication and thus enable more communication to be conducted securely. We use ideas from the PKE setting to develop new answers for hybrid encryption in this paper. This allows us to develop a new and significantly weaker security notion—sender-binding CPA for KEMs—which is still strong enough for secure communication. By using game-based notions as building blocks, we attain secure communication in the form of ideal functionalities with proofs in the UC-framework. Secure communication is reached in both the classic as well as session context by adding authentication and one-time and replayable CCA secure symmetric encryption respectively. We furthermore provide an efficient post-quantum secure LWE-based construction in the standard model giving a first indication of the real-world benefit resulting from our new security notion. Overall we manage to make significant progress on discovering the minimal security requirements for hybrid encryption components to facilitate secure communication.
A New Security Notion for PKC in the Standard Model: Weaker, Simpler, and Still Realizing Secure Channels 📺
Encryption satisfying CCA2 security is commonly known to be unnecessarily strong for realizing secure channels. Moreover, CCA2 constructions in the standard model are far from being competitive practical alternatives to constructions via random oracle. A promising research area to alleviate this problem are weaker security notions—like IND-RCCA secure encryption or IND-atag-wCCA secure tag-based encryption—which are still able to facilitate secure message transfer (SMT) via authenticated channels. In this paper we introduce the concept of sender-binding encryption (SBE), unifying prior approaches of SMT construction in the universal composability (UC) model. We furthermore develop the corresponding non-trivial security notion of IND-SB-CPA and formally prove that it suffices for realizing SMT in conjunction with authenticated channels. Our notion is the weakest so far in the sense that it can be generically constructed from the weakest prior notions—RCCA and atag-wCCA—without additional assumptions, while the reverse is not true. A direct consequence is that IND-stag-wCCA, which is strictly weaker than IND-atag-wCCA but stronger than our IND-SB-CPA, can be used to construct a secure channel. Finally, we give an efficient IND-SB-CPA secure construction in the standard model from IND-CPA secure double receiver encryption (DRE) based on McEliece. This shows that IND-SB-CPA security yields simpler and more efficient constructions in the standard model than the weakest prior notions, i.e., IND-atag-wCCA and IND-stag-wCCA.