upnorth

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This paper proves that two parties can create a secure communications cannel using a communications system with a backdoor. It's a theoretical result, so it doesn't talk about how easy that channel is to create. And the assumptions on the adversary are pretty reasonable: that each party can create his own randomness, and that the government isn't literally eavesdropping on every single part of the network at all times.
Abstract: In this work, we examine the feasibility of secure and undetectable point-to-point communication in a world where governments can read all the encrypted communications of their citizens. We consider a world where the only permitted method of communication is via a government-mandated encryption scheme, instantiated with government-mandated keys. Parties cannot simply encrypt ciphertexts of some other encryption scheme, because citizens caught trying to communicate outside the government's knowledge (e.g., by encrypting strings which do not appear to be natural language plaintexts) will be arrested. The one guarantee we suppose is that the government mandates an encryption scheme which is semantically secure against outsiders: a perhaps reasonable supposition when a government might consider it advantageous to secure its people's communication against foreign entities. But then, what good is semantic security against an adversary that holds all the keys and has the power to decrypt?

We show that even in the pessimistic scenario described, citizens can communicate securely and undetectably. In our terminology, this translates to a positive statement: all semantically secure encryption schemes support subliminal communication. Informally, this means that there is a two-party protocol between Alice and Bob where the parties exchange ciphertexts of what appears to be a normal conversation even to someone who knows the secret keys and thus can read the corresponding plaintexts. And yet, at the end of the protocol, Alice will have transmitted her secret message to Bob. Our security definition requires that the adversary not be able to tell whether Alice and Bob are just having a normal conversation using the mandated encryption scheme, or they are using the mandated encryption scheme for subliminal communication.

Our topics may be thought to fall broadly within the realm of steganography: the science of hiding secret communication within innocent-looking messages, or cover objects. However, we deal with the non-standard setting of an adversarially chosen distribution of cover objects (i.e., a stronger-than-usual adversary), and we take advantage of the fact that our cover objects are ciphertexts of a semantically secure encryption scheme to bypass impossibility results which we show for broader classes of steganographic schemes. We give several constructions of subliminal communication schemes under the assumption that key exchange protocols with pseudorandom messages exist (such as Diffie-Hellman, which in fact has truly random messages). Each construction leverages the assumed semantic security of the adversarially chosen encryption scheme, in order to achieve subliminal communication.
Pdf : Subvert Backdoored Encryption
 

upnorth

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Suppose that we lived in a world where the government wished to read all the communications of its citizens, and thus decreed that citizens must not communicate in any way other than by using a specific, government-mandated encryption scheme with government-mandated keys. Even face-to-face communication is not allowed: in this Orwellian world, anyone who is caught speaking to another person will be arrested for treason. Similarly, anyone whose communications appear to be hiding information will be arrested: e.g., if the plaintexts encrypted using the government-mandated scheme are themselves ciphertexts of a different encryption scheme. However, the one assumption that we entertain in this paper, is that the government-mandated encryption scheme is, in fact, semantically secure: this is a tenable supposition with respect to a government that considers secure encryption to be in its interest, in order to prevent foreign powers from spying on its citizens’ communications. A natural question then arises: is there any way that the citizens would be able to communicate in a fashion undetectable to the government, based only on the semantic security of the government-mandated encryption scheme, and despite the fact that the government knows the keys and has the ability to decrypt all ciphertexts? 1 What can semantic security possibly guarantee in a setting where the adversary has the private keys? This question may appear to fall broadly within the realm of steganography: the science of hiding secret communications within other innocent-looking communications (called “cover objects”), in an undetectable way. Indeed, it can be shown that if two parties have a shared secret, then based on slight variants of existing techniques for secret-key steganography, they can conduct communications hidden from the government.2 However, the question of whether two parties who have never met before can conduct hidden communications is more interesting.
 

tim one

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Having the key to decrypt the protected information exchanged by the people is the dream of every government.
However, data protection must be a right of the people and so it must be, to ensure the awareness of the citizens about the inviolability of their privacy.
But often these are only nice words..
 
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