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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Provably Secure Password-based Authentication in TLS

  • Author(s): Abdalla, Michel
  • Emmanuel, Bresson
  • Chevassut, Olivier
  • Moeller, Bodo
  • Pointcheval, David
  • et al.

In this paper, we show how to design an efficient, provably secure password-based authenticated key exchange mechanism specifically for the TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocol. The goal is to provide a technique that allows users to employ (short) passwords to securely identify themselves to servers. As our main contribution, we describe a new password-based technique for user authentication in TLS, called Simple Open Key Exchange (SOKE). Loosely speaking, the SOKE ciphersuites are unauthenticated Diffie-Hellman ciphersuites in which the client's Diffie-Hellman ephemeral public value is encrypted using a simple mask generation function. The mask is simply a constant value raised to the power of (a hash of) the password.The SOKE ciphersuites, in advantage over previous pass-word-based authentication ciphersuites for TLS, combine the following features. First, SOKE has formal security arguments; the proof of security based on the computational Diffie-Hellman assumption is in the random oracle model, and holds for concurrent executions and for arbitrarily large password dictionaries. Second, SOKE is computationally efficient; in particular, it only needs operations in a sufficiently large prime-order subgroup for its Diffie-Hellman computations (no safe primes). Third, SOKE provides good protocol flexibility because the user identity and password are only required once a SOKE ciphersuite has actually been negotiated, and after the server has sent a server identity.

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