The research carried out by a team of researchers from School of Engineering of UMinho – INESC TEC’s High-assurance Software Laboratory (HASLab), in the field of computer security, led to the presentation of three scientific articles at the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS), one of the most important conferences in this area – which took place online between November 15 and 18.
One of the articles, entitled “Machine-checked ZKP for NP relations: Formally Verified Security Proofs and Implementations of MPC-in-the-Head“, explores the implementation of zero-knowledge proofs, i.e., interactive protocols that allow an entity to demonstrate it knows a secret to other entities, without disclosing it. “These protocols can be used, for instance, to anonymise actors in cryptocurrency systems, and are an important tool for the creation of digital signatures with post-quantum security”, said Hugo Pacheco, a researcher at HASLab and one of the authors of the article.
The articles “Mechanized Proofs of Adversarial Complexity and Application to Universal Composability” and“EasyPQC: Verifying Post-Quantum Cryptography” aim to contribute to the validation of security proofs for cryptographic protocols used in the present and in the future, using formal verification techniques. “These contributions expand the universe of applications of the EasyCrypt tool, since they now enable addressing the use of resources and techniques to justify security against attacks using quantum computers”, mentioned Manuel Barbosa, researcher at HASLab and one of the authors of the article.
Cooperation with international institutions
It is important to highlight that the first research action is the result of the joint efforts by Manuel Barbosa, Hugo Pacheco, and José Bacelar Almeida, in collaboration with SRI International, an independent, non-profit research institute based in California, U.S.A. This collaborative research took place within the scope of the SIEVE project, which aims to advance the maturity and scalability of the existing zero-knowledge proof technology.
The remaining articles stem from Manuel Barbosa’s work in partnership with an international team of researchers who have contributed to the development of the EasyCrypt tool.
Renowned conference in the field of security and cryptography
The CCS 2021 conference is rated A* according to the Australian core ranking that provides reviews of leading conferences in computing, and it aims to bring together information security researchers, professionals, programmers and users from around the world, in order to explore innovative ideas and results in the area.
The researchers mentioned in the news have links to INESC TEC, UP-FCUP and UMinho.