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On the representation and verification of cryptographic protocols in a theory of action

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3 Author(s)
Delgrande, J.P. ; Sch. of Comput. Sci., Simon Fraser Univ., Burnaby, BC, Canada ; Hunter, A. ; Grote, T.

Cryptographic protocols are usually specified in an informal, ad hoc language, with crucial elements, such as the protocol goal, left implicit. We suggest that this is one reason that such protocols are difficult to analyse, and are subject to subtle and nonintuitive attacks. We present an approach for formalising and analysing cryptographic protocols in a theory of action, specifically the situation calculus. Our thesis is that all aspects of a protocol must be explicitly specified. We provide a declarative specification of underlying assumptions and capabilities in the situation calculus. A protocol is translated into a sequence of actions to be executed by the principals, and a successful attack is an executable plan by an intruder that compromises the specified goal. Our prototype verification software takes a protocol specification, translates it into a high-level situation calculus (Golog) program, and outputs any attacks that can be found. We describe the structure and operation of our prototype software, and discuss performance issues.

Published in:

Privacy Security and Trust (PST), 2010 Eighth Annual International Conference on

Date of Conference:

17-19 Aug. 2010