Entropy Measures and Unconditional Security in Cryptography

by Christian Cachin

The reprint of my dissertation was published as volume 1 of ETH Series in Information Security and Cryptography (edited by Ueli Maurer) by Hartung-Gorre Verlag, Konstanz, ISBN 3-89649-185-7.

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Abstract

One of the most important properties of a cryptographic system is a proof of its security. In the present work, information-theoretic methods are used for proving the security of unconditionally secure cryptosystems. The security of such systems does not depend on unproven intractability assumptions.

A survey of entropy measures and their applications in cryptography is presented. A new information measure, smooth entropy, is introduced to quantify the number of almost uniform random bits that can be extracted from a source by probabilistic algorithms. Smooth entropy unifies previous work on privacy amplification in cryptography and on entropy smoothing in theoretical computer science. It enables a systematic investigation of the spoiling knowledge proof technique to obtain lower bounds on smooth entropy.

The Rényi entropy of order at least 2 of a random variable is a lower bound for its smooth entropy, whereas an assumption about Rényientropy of order 1, which is equivalent to the Shannon entropy, is too weak to guarantee any non-trivial amount of smooth entropy. The gap between Rényi entropy of order 1 and 2 is closed by proving that Rényi entropy of order $\alpha$ between 1 and 2 is a lower bound for smooth entropy, up to a small parameter depending on $\alpha$, the alphabet size, and the failure probability.

The operation of many unconditionally secure cryptosystems can be divided into the three phases advantage distillation, information reconciliation, and privacy amplification. The relation between privacy amplification and information reconciliation is investigated, in particular, the effect of side information, obtained by an adversary through an initial reconciliation step, on the size of the secret key that can be distilled safely by subsequent privacy amplification. It is shown that each bit of side information reduces the size of the key that can be generated by at most one bit, except with negligible probability.

A private-key cryptosystem and a protocol for key agreement by public discussion are proposed that are unconditionally secure based on the sole assumption that an adversary's memory capacity is limited. The systems make use of a random bit string of length slightly larger than the adversary's memory capacity that can be received by all parties.


Contents

  1 Introduction  1 

  2 Preliminaries  5 
      2.1 Discrete Probability Theory  5 
      2.2 Some Inequalities  8 
          2.2.1 The Jensen Inequality  8 
          2.2.2 The Moment, Markov, Chebychef, and other Inequalities  9 
          2.2.3 Chernoff-Hoeffding Bounds  9 
      2.3 Entropy and Information Theory  10 
      2.4 R\'enyi  Entropy  13 
      2.5 The Asymptotic Equipartition Property  17 
      2.6 Universal Hashing and Privacy Amplification  20 

  3 Information Measures in Cryptography  23 
      3.1 Introduction  23 
      3.2 Scenarios and Information Measures  25 
          3.2.1 Perfect Secrecy: Shannon Entropy  26 
            Secret-Key Cryptosystems  26 
            Secret Sharing  27 
            Key Distribution for Dynamic Conferences  28 
          3.2.2 Authentication: Relative Entropy  30 
          3.2.3 Privacy Amplification: R\'enyi  Entropy  33 
          3.2.4 Guessing Keys: Min-Entropy and ``Guessing Entropy''  35 
          3.2.5 Hash Functions: Collision Probability  37 
          3.2.6 Probabilistic Bounds: Variational Distance  39 
      3.3 Some Relations Between Information Measures  42 
      3.4 Shannon Entropy and Almost Uniform Distributions  45 

  4 Smooth Entropy  47 
      4.1 Introduction  48 
      4.2 A General Formulation  51 
      4.3 Previous Work and Related Concepts  55 
          4.3.1 Privacy Amplification in Cryptography  56 
          4.3.2 Entropy Smoothing in Pseudorandom Generation  57 
          4.3.3 Relation to Entropy  58 
          4.3.4 Relation to Intrinsic Randomness  61 
          4.3.5 An Application in Learning Theory  62 
          4.3.6 Extractors, Weak Random Sources, and Derandomization  63 
      4.4 Spoiling Knowledge  65 
          4.4.1 Introduction  65 
          4.4.2 Spoiling Knowledge for Increasing Smooth Entropy with Probability  1  68 
          4.4.3 Spoiling Knowledge for Increasing Smooth Entropy with Probabilistic Bounds  74 
      4.5 Bounds Using Spoiling Knowledge  79 
          4.5.1 A Bound Using R\'enyi  Entropy of Order $\alpha >1$  80 
          4.5.2 A Tighter Bound Using the Profile of the Distribution  85 
      4.6 Smoothing an Unknown Distribution  89 
      4.7 Conclusions  92 

  5 Unconditional Security in Cryptography  95 
      5.1 Introduction  95 
      5.2 Unconditionally Secure Key Agreement Protocols  98 
      5.3 Linking Reconciliation and Privacy Amplification  102 
          5.3.1 Introduction  102 
          5.3.2 The Effect of Side Information on R\'enyi Entropy  103 
          5.3.3 Almost Uniform Distributions  107 
          5.3.4 Independent Repetition of a Random Experiment  109 
          5.3.5 Conclusions  111 
      5.4 Memory-Bounded Adversaries  112 
          5.4.1 Introduction  112 
          5.4.2 Pairwise Independence and Entropy Smoothing  114 
          5.4.3 Extracting a Secret Key from a Randomly Selected Subset  115 
          5.4.4 A Private-Key System  121 
          5.4.5 Key Agreement by Public Discussion  122 
          5.4.6 Discussion  125 

  6 Concluding Remarks  127 

  Bibliography  129 

  Index  141 

Christian Cachin