[Resource Topic] 2023/1761: Guardianship in Group Key Exchange for Limited Environments

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Guardianship in Group Key Exchange for Limited Environments

Authors: Elsie Mestl Fondevik, Britta Hale, Xisen Tian


Post-compromise security (PCS) has been a core goal of end-to-end encrypted messaging applications for many years, both in one-to-one continuous key agreement (CKA) and for groups (CGKA). At its essence, PCS relies on a compromised party to perform a key update in order to `self-heal’. However, due to bandwidth constraints, receive-only mode, and various other environmental demands of the growing number of use cases for such CGKA protocols, a group member may not be able to issue such updates. In this work, we address the issue of devices functioning in limited mode through the introduction of guardianship, where a designated guardian can perform key updates on the behalf of its paired edge device. We introduce a Guardianship PCS (GPCS) security, and provide an associated security experiment. We investigate various architectural designs in the pursuit of GPCS, provide constructions and security analyses, and describe trade-offs.

ePrint: https://eprint.iacr.org/2023/1761

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