Ciphertext-Policy Attribute-Based Encryption (CPABE) was introduced by Bethencourt, Sahai, and Waters, as an improvement of Identity Based Encryption, allowing fine grained control of access to encrypted files by restricting access to only users whose attributes match that of the monotonic access tree of the encrypted file. Through these modifications, encrypted files can be placed securely on an unsecure server, without fear of malicious users being able to access the files, while allowing each user to have a unique key, reducing the vulnerabilites associated with sharing a key between multiple users.
However, due to the fact that CPABE was designed for the purpose of not using trusted servers, key management strategies such as efficient renewal and immediate key revocation are inherently prevented. In turn, this reduces security of the entire scheme, as a user could maliciously keep a key after having an attribute changed or revoked, using the old key to decrypt files that they should not have access to with their new key. Additionally, the original CPABE implementation provided does not discuss the selection of the underlying bilinear pairing which is used as the cryptographic primitive for the scheme.
This thesis explores different possibilites for improvement to CPABE, in both the choice of bilinear group used, as well as support for key management that does not rely on proxy servers while minimizing the communication overhead. Through this work, it was found that nonsupersingular elliptic curves can be used for CPABE, and Barreto-Naehrig curves allowed the fastest encryption and key generation in CHARM, but were the slowest curves for decryption due to the large size of the output group. Key management was performed by using a key-insulation method, which provided helper keys which allow keys to be transformed over different time periods, with revocation and renewal through key update. Unfortunately, this does not allow immediate revocation, and revoked keys are still valid until the end of the time period during which they are revoked. Discussion of other key management methods is presented to show that immediate key revocation is difficult without using trusted servers to control access.
Computer Engineering (MS)
Department, Program, or Center
Computer Engineering (KGCOE)
Martin, Russell F., "Group Selection and Key Management Strategies for Ciphertext-Policy Attribute-Based Encryption" (2013). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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