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Design, Analysis, and Implementation of ARPKI: An Attack-Resilient Public-Key Infrastructure


The current Transport Layer Security (TLS) Public-Key Infrastructure (PKI) is based on a weakest-link security model that depends on over a thousand trust roots. The recent history of malicious and compromised Certification Authorities has fueled the desire for alternatives. Creating a new, secure infrastructure is, however, a surprisingly challenging task due to the large number of parties involved and the many ways that they can interact. A principled approach to its design is therefore mandatory, as humans cannot feasibly consider all the cases that can occur due to the multitude of interleavings of actions by legitimate parties and attackers, such as private key compromises (e.g., domain, Certification Authority, log server, other trusted entities), key revocations, key updates, etc. We present ARPKI, a PKI architecture that ensures that certificate-related operations, such as certificate issuance, update, revocation, and validation, are transparent and accountable. ARPKI efficiently supports these operations, and gracefully handles catastrophic events such as domain key loss or compromise. Moreover ARPKI is the first PKI architecture that is co-designed with a formal model, and we verify its core security property using the T AMARIN prover. We prove that ARPKI offers extremely strong security guarantees, where compromising even n-1 trusted signing and verifying entities is insufficient to launch a man-in-the-middle attack. Moreover, ARPKI’s use deters misbehavior as all operations are publicly visible. Finally, we present a proof-of-concept implementation that provides all the features required for deployment. Our experiments indicate that ARPKI efficiently handles the certification process with low overhead. It does not incur additional latency to TLS, since no additional round trips are required.

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Date last modified

2020-02-27 13:06:31