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Concept: Cryptography


In recent years, group signature techniques are widely used in constructing privacy-preserving security schemes for various information systems. However, conventional techniques keep the schemes secure only in normal black-box attack contexts. In other words, these schemes suppose that (the implementation of) the group signature generation algorithm is running in a platform that is perfectly protected from various intrusions and attacks. As a complementary to existing studies, how to generate group signatures securely in a more austere security context, such as a white-box attack context, is studied in this paper. We use obfuscation as an approach to acquire a higher level of security. Concretely, we introduce a special group signature functionality-an encrypted group signature, and then provide an obfuscator for the proposed functionality. A series of new security notions for both the functionality and its obfuscator has been introduced. The most important one is the average-case secure virtual black-box property w.r.t. dependent oracles and restricted dependent oracles which captures the requirement of protecting the output of the proposed obfuscator against collision attacks from group members. The security notions fit for many other specialized obfuscators, such as obfuscators for identity-based signatures, threshold signatures and key-insulated signatures. Finally, the correctness and security of the proposed obfuscator have been proven. Thereby, the obfuscated encrypted group signature functionality can be applied to variants of privacy-preserving security schemes and enhance the security level of these schemes.

Concepts: Authentication, Cryptography, Obfuscated code, Obfuscation


At first glance, the trailing tentacles of a jellyfish appear to be randomly arranged. However, close examination of medusae has revealed that the arrangement and developmental order of the tentacles obey a mathematical rule. Here, we show that medusa jellyfish adopt the best strategy to achieve the most uniform distribution of a variable number of tentacles. The observed order of tentacles is a real-world example of an optimal hashing algorithm known as Fibonacci hashing in computer science.

Concepts: Scientific method, Algorithm, Mathematics, Computer science, Jellyfish, Cryptography, Hash function, Cryptographic hash function


Publish/subscribe is a communication paradigm where loosely-coupled clients communicate in an asynchronous fashion. Publish/subscribe supports the flexible development of large-scale, event-driven and ubiquitous systems. Publish/subscribe is prevalent in a number of application domains such as social networking, distributed business processes and real-time mission-critical systems. Many publish/subscribe applications are sensitive to message loss and violation of privacy. To overcome such issues, we propose a novel method of using secret sharing and replication techniques. This is to reliably and confidentially deliver decryption keys along with encrypted publications even under the presence of several Byzantine brokers across publish/subscribe overlay networks. We also propose a framework for dynamically and strategically allocating broker replicas based on flexibly definable criteria for reliability and performance. Moreover, a thorough evaluation is done through a case study on social networks using the real trace of interactions among Facebook users.

Concepts: Scientific method, Sociology, Communication, Computer network, Internet, Cryptography, Facebook, Overlay network


The security of conventional cryptography systems is threatened in the forthcoming era of quantum computers. Quantum key distribution (QKD) features fundamentally proven security and offers a promising option for quantum-proof cryptography solution. Although prototype QKD systems over optical fiber have been demonstrated over the years, the key generation rates remain several orders of magnitude lower than current classical communication systems. In an effort toward a commercially viable QKD system with improved key generation rates, we developed a discrete-variable QKD system based on time-bin quantum photonic states that can generate provably secure cryptographic keys at megabit-per-second rates over metropolitan distances. We use high-dimensional quantum states that transmit more than one secret bit per received photon, alleviating detector saturation effects in the superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors used in our system that feature very high detection efficiency (of more than 70%) and low timing jitter (of less than 40 ps). Our system is constructed using commercial off-the-shelf components, and the adopted protocol can be readily extended to free-space quantum channels. The security analysis adopted to distill the keys ensures that the demonstrated protocol is robust against coherent attacks, finite-size effects, and a broad class of experimental imperfections identified in our system.

Concepts: Quantum mechanics, Quantum information science, Key, Quantum entanglement, Quantum cryptography, RSA, Cryptography, One-time pad


Traditional smart fluorescent materials, which have been attracting increasing interest for security protection, are usually visible under either ambient or UV light, making them adverse to the potential application of confidential information protection. Herein, we report an approach to realize confidential information protection and storage based on the conversion of lead-based metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) to luminescent perovskite nanocrystals (NCs). Owing to the invisible and controlled printable characteristics of lead-based MOFs, confidential information can be recorded and encrypted by MOF patterns, which cannot be read through common decryption methods. Through our conversion strategy, highly luminescent perovskite NCs can be formed quickly and simply by using a halide salt trigger that reacts with the MOF, thus promoting effective information decryption. Finally, through polar solvents impregnation and halide salt conversion, the luminescence of the perovskite NCs can be quenched and recovered, leading to reversible on/off switching of the luminescence signal for multiple information encryption and decryption processes.

Concepts: Fluorescence, Key, Cryptography, Encryption, Secure Network Communications


Among those who make a living from the science of secrecy, worry and paranoia are just signs of professionalism. Can we protect our secrets against those who wield superior technological powers? Can we trust those who provide us with tools for protection? Can we even trust ourselves, our own freedom of choice? Recent developments in quantum cryptography show that some of these questions can be addressed and discussed in precise and operational terms, suggesting that privacy is indeed possible under surprisingly weak assumptions.

Concepts: Protection, Quantum cryptography, Cryptography


How does one prove a claim about a highly sensitive object such as a nuclear weapon without revealing information about the object? This paradox has challenged nuclear arms control for more than five decades. We present a mechanism in the form of an interactive proof system that can validate the structure and composition of an object, such as a nuclear warhead, to arbitrary precision without revealing either its structure or composition. We introduce a tomographic method that simultaneously resolves both the geometric and isotopic makeup of an object. We also introduce a method of protecting information using a provably secure cryptographic hash that does not rely on electronics or software. These techniques, when combined with a suitable protocol, constitute an interactive proof system that could reject hoax items and clear authentic warheads with excellent sensitivity in reasonably short measurement times.

Concepts: Nuclear weapon, Cryptography, Missile


The theoretically proven security of quantum key distribution (QKD) could revolutionize the way in which information exchange is protected in the future. Several field tests of QKD have proven it to be a reliable technology for cryptographic key exchange and have demonstrated nodal networks of point-to-point links. However, until now no convincing answer has been given to the question of how to extend the scope of QKD beyond niche applications in dedicated high security networks. Here we introduce and experimentally demonstrate the concept of a ‘quantum access network’: based on simple and cost-effective telecommunication technologies, the scheme can greatly expand the number of users in quantum networks and therefore vastly broaden their appeal. We show that a high-speed single-photon detector positioned at a network node can be shared between up to 64 users for exchanging secret keys with the node, thereby significantly reducing the hardware requirements for each user added to the network. This point-to-multipoint architecture removes one of the main obstacles restricting the widespread application of QKD. It presents a viable method for realizing multi-user QKD networks with efficient use of resources, and brings QKD closer to becoming a widespread technology.

Concepts: Quantum mechanics, Quantum information science, Key, Network topology, Quantum entanglement, Quantum cryptography, Cryptography, One-time pad


Secure data encryption relies heavily on one-way functions, and copy protection relies on features that are difficult to reproduce. We present an optical authentication system based on lanthanide luminescence from physical one-way functions or physical unclonable functions (PUFs). They cannot be reproduced and thus enable unbreakable encryption. Further, PUFs will prevent counterfeiting if tags with unique PUFs are grafted onto products. We have developed an authentication system that comprises a hardware reader, image analysis, and authentication software and physical keys that we demonstrate as an anticounterfeiting system. The physical keys are PUFs made from random patterns of taggants in polymer films on glass that can be imaged following selected excitation of particular lanthanide(III) ions doped into the individual taggants. This form of excitation-selected imaging ensures that by using at least two lanthanide(III) ion dopants, the random patterns cannot be copied, because the excitation selection will fail when using any other emitter. With the developed reader and software, the random patterns are read and digitized, which allows a digital pattern to be stored. This digital pattern or digital key can be used to authenticate the physical key in anticounterfeiting or to encrypt any message. The PUF key was produced with a staggering nominal encoding capacity of 73600. Although the encoding capacity of the realized authentication system reduces to 6 × 10104, it is more than sufficient to completely preclude counterfeiting of products.

Concepts: Mathematics, Key, Authentication, Cryptography, Counterfeit, Encryption, Cipher, One-way function


Bell non-locality between distant quantum systems-that is, joint correlations which violate a Bell inequality-can be verified without trusting the measurement devices used, nor those performing the measurements. This leads to unconditionally secure protocols for quantum information tasks such as cryptographic key distribution. However, complete verification of Bell non-locality requires high detection efficiencies, and is not robust to typical transmission losses over long distances. In contrast, quantum or Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen steering, a weaker form of quantum correlation, can be verified for arbitrarily low detection efficiencies and high losses. The cost is that current steering-verification protocols require complete trust in one of the measurement devices and its operator, allowing only one-sided secure key distribution. Here we present measurement-device-independent steering protocols that remove this need for trust, even when Bell non-locality is not present. We experimentally demonstrate this principle for singlet states and states that do not violate a Bell inequality.

Concepts: Quantum mechanics, Quantum entanglement, Cryptography, Measurement in quantum mechanics, Bell's theorem, EPR paradox, Bell test experiments, Local hidden variable theory