The assignee for this patent, patent number 8527766, is
Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "An adversary may attempt to extract meaningful information from a cryptographic system using various approaches. In one approach, the adversary may attempt to uncover theoretical vulnerabilities in the cryptographic system. In another approach, the adversary may attempt to exploit weaknesses in the administrative or technical environment associated with the cryptographic system. Generally, these types of attacks often make a direct attempt to obtain secret information, e.g., through mathematical analysis, system 'hacking,' or simple guile.
"A side-channel attack, by contrast, attempts to extract secret information in indirect fashion by observing the physical characteristics of the cryptographic system in the course of its operation. That is, the cryptographic system is composed of one or more electrical computers. In the course of operation, the cryptographic system exhibits physical behavior. An adversary may capture this behavior and then attempt to correlate this behavior with secret information. For example, the adversary may measure the physical characteristics of a computer over a span of time as it decrypts messages using a secret key. The adversary may hope to assemble enough information over this span of time to enable it to reconstruct the secret key.
"An adversary may exploit various physical characteristics of a cryptographic system. For example, the adversary may capture: a) the length of time the system takes to perform operations; b) the amount of power consumed by the system in performing its operations; c) the electromagnetic radiation (or even noise) emitted by the system in the course of performing its operations, and so on. In any case, the cryptographic system may be said to 'leak' information which can be potentially exploited by an adversary. An adversary which attempts to exploit leaked information is said herein to mount a leakage-type attack.
"The industry has attempted to thwart these types of attacks in various ways, e.g., by proposing both physical and algorithmic safeguards that attempt to reduce the leakage of meaningful information. Yet there remains room for considerable improvement in this field."
In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "A system is described herein for reducing leakage of meaningful information from cryptographic operations by generating a modified secret key SK' using a pairwise independent hash function, where the modified secret key SK' includes individual components. The system stores a modified secret key collection (SK.sub.collection) that includes the modified secret key SK' and its individual components. The system later decrypts a message using the modified secret key collection in multiple stages, each stage relying on one or more components of the modified secret key collection. That is, the system performs plural partial operations to generate plural respective partial operation results. The message is decrypted by combining the partial operation results in various scheme-specific ways. The system reduces the leakage of meaningful information due to the difficulty in piecing together meaningful information from separate pieces of leakage information that originate from the respective plural partial operations.
"In one implementation, the pairwise independent hash function is given by H.sub.K(r)=ar+b, where a, r, and b are selected values, such as random numbers. The modified secret key SK' is given by SK'=SK+H.sub.K(r), where SK is an original (non-modified) secret key generated by the system. The modified secret key collection in this example includes SK', a, r, and b.
"In another implementation, the pairwise independent hash function is given by H.sub.K(r)=A.sup.r*B, where A, r, and B are selected values. The modified secret key SK' is given by SK'=SK*H.sub.K(r). The modified secret key collection in this example includes SK', A, r, and B.
"According to another illustrative aspect, the system can periodically (or on any other basis) generate an updated modified secret key collection.
"The above approach can be manifested in various types of systems, components, methods, computer readable media, data structures, articles of manufacture, and so on.
"This Summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form; these concepts are further described below in the Detailed Description. This Summary is not intended to identify key features or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used to limit the scope of the claimed subject matter."
For more information, see this patent: Chase, Melissa E.; O'Neill, Adam M.. Reducing Leakage of Information from Cryptographic Systems. U.S. Patent Number 8527766, filed
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