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ELK, a new protocol for efficient large-group key distribution

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3 Author(s)
Penrig, A. ; California Univ., Berkeley, CA, USA ; Song, D. ; Tygar, J.D.

Secure media broadcast over the Internet poses unique security challenges. One problem is access control to a large number of subscribers in a public broadcast. A common solution is to encrypt the broadcast data and to disclose the decryption key to legitimate receivers only. However, how do we securely and efficiently establish a shared secret among the legitimate receivers? And most importantly, how can we efficiently update the group key securely if receivers join or leave? How can we provide reliability for key update messages in a way that scales up to large groups? Recent research makes substantial progress to address these challenges. Current schemes feature efficient key update mechanisms assuming that the key updates are communicated reliably to the receivers. In practice, however the principal impediment to achieve a scalable system is to distribute the key updates reliably to all receivers. We have designed and implemented ELK, a novel key distribution protocol, to address these challenges with the following features: ELK features perfectly reliable, super-efficient member joins; ELK uses smaller key update messages than previous protocols; ELK features a mechanism that allows short hint messages to be used for key recovery allowing a tradeoff of communication overhead with member computation; ELK proposes to append a small amount of key update information to data packets, such that the majority of receivers can recover from lost key update messages; and ELK allows to trade off security with communication overhead

Published in:

Security and Privacy, 2001. S&P 2001. Proceedings. 2001 IEEE Symposium on

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