Computational Soundness of Symbolic Zero-Knowledge Proofs

Computational Soundness of Symbolic Zero-Knowledge ProofsM. Backes and D. Unruh (Journal of Computer Security, 2010).  [publisher's version | eprint]

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 Dolev-Yao models offering the core cryptographic operations such as encryption and digital signatures can be sound with respect to actual cryptographic realizations and security definitions. Recent work, however, has started to extend Dolev-Yao models to more sophisticated operations with unique security features. Zero-knowledge proofs arguably constitute the most amazing such extension.

In this paper, we first identify which additional properties a cryptographic (non-interactive) zero-knowledge proof needs to fulfill in order to serve as a computationally sound implementation of symbolic (Dolev-Yao style) zero-knowledge proofs; this leads to the novel definition of a symbolically-sound zero-knowledge proof system. We prove that even in the presence of arbitrary active adversaries, such proof systems constitute computationally sound implementations of symbolic zero-knowledge proofs. This yields the first computational soundness result for symbolic zero-knowledge proofs and the first such result against fully active adversaries of Dolev-Yao models that go beyond the core cryptographic operations.

A preliminary version appeared at Backes, Unruh, Computational Soundness of Symbolic Zero-Knowledge Proofs Against Active Attackers, 2008.