Entity Authentication and Key Distribution

        Entity authentication and key distribution are central cryptographic problems in distributed computing---but up until now, they have lacked even a meaningful definition. One consequence is that incorrect and inefficient protocols have proliferated. This paper provides the first treatment of these problems in the complexity-theoretic framework of modern cryptography. Addressed in detail are two problems of the symmetric, two-party setting: mutual authentication and authenticated key exchange. For each we present a definition, protocol, and proof that the protocol meets its goal, assuming the (minimal) assumption of pseudorandom function. When this assumption is appropriately instantiated, the protocols given are practical and efficient.

By: Mihir Bellare and Phillip Rogaway

Published in: RC19074 in 1998

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