[Resource Topic] 2024/029: YouChoose: A Lightweight Anonymous Proof of Account Ownership

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YouChoose: A Lightweight Anonymous Proof of Account Ownership

Authors: Aarav Varshney, Prashant Agrawal, Mahabir Prasad Jhanwar


We explore the issue of anonymously proving account ownership (anonymous PAO). Such proofs allow a prover to prove to a verifier that it owns a valid account at a server without being tracked by the server or the verifier, without requiring any changes at the server’s end and without even revealing to it that any anonymous PAO is taking place. This concept is useful in sensitive applications like whistleblowing. The first introduction of anonymous PAOs was by Wang et al., who also introduced the secure channel injection (SCI) protocol to realize anonymous PAO in the context of email account ownership. In this paper, we propose YouChoose, an approach that improves upon Wang et al.'s SCI-based anonymous PAO. Unlike SCI, which demands carefully designed multi-party computation (MPC) protocols for efficiency, YouChoose works without MPC, simply relying on the verifier to selectively forward TLS records. It is faster, more efficient, and more adaptable compared to SCI. Further, the simplicity of the YouChoose approach readily enables anonymous PAO in different settings such as various ciphersuites of TLS, account types other than email, etc., while the SCI approach needs specifically designed MPC protocols for each use case. We also provide formal security definitions for a generalized anonymous PAO of which both YouChoose and SCI are concrete instantiations.

ePrint: https://eprint.iacr.org/2024/029

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