International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Paper: Limits of the Cryptographic Realization of Dolev-Yao-style XOR

Michael Backes
Birgit Pfitzmann
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Abstract: The abstraction of cryptographic operations by term algebras, called Dolev-Yao models, is essential in almost all tool-supported methods for proving security protocols. Recently significant progress was made in proving that such abstractions can be sound with respect to actual cryptographic realizations and security definitions. The strongest results show this in the sense of reactive simulatability/UC, a notion that essentially means retention of arbitrary security properties under arbitrary active attacks and in arbitrary protocol environments, with only small changes to both abstractions and natural implementations. However, these results are so far restricted to cryptographic systems like encryption and signatures which essentially only have constructors and destructors, but no further algebraic properties. Typical modern tools and complexity results around Dolev-Yao models also allow more algebraic operations. The first such operation considered is typically XOR because of its clear structure and cryptographic usefulness. We show that it is impossible to extend the strong soundness results to XOR, at least not with remotely the same generality and naturalness as for the core cryptographic systems. On the positive side, we show the soundness of an XOR model and realization under passive attacks.
  title={Limits of the Cryptographic Realization of Dolev-Yao-style XOR},
  booktitle={IACR Eprint archive},
  keywords={foundations / Dolev-Yao, symbolic, soundness, XOR, simulatability, universal composability},
  note={Appears at ESORICS'05 12970 received 6 Jul 2005},
  author={Michael Backes and Birgit Pfitzmann},