Hedging Public-key Encryption in the Real World

FICS Research own Christopher Patton (University of Florida), Thomas Shrimpton (University of Florida) and Alexandra Boldyreva (Georgia Tech), paper Hedging Public-Key Encryption in the Real World” has been published in one the premier venues for cryptography research CRYPTO 2017.  Cryptography is the practice and study of randomness to encode and secure sensitive information.   It is vital to construct and analyze protocols that prevent adversaries from acquiring confidential data.

The security of many cryptographic primitives relies on access to reliable, high-quality randomness. However, generating good randomness is a complex process that often fails, due to use of ill-designed random number generators (RNGs), software bugs, or malicious subversion. 

Access to high-quality randomness does not guarantee consistent security. Implementation of cryptographic mechanism is key in preventing a reduction of the quality of the system –provided randomness.  The objective of “hedging” cryptographic mechanisms is to salvage some useful security guarantees even when randomness is bad.  This paper revisits the theory of hedged-PKE from the perspective of what is achievable from APIs exposed by existing libraries.

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