Retaliation against protocol attacks
Security protocols intend to give their parties reasonable assurance that certain security properties will protect their communication session. However, the literature confirms that the protocols may suffer subtle and hidden attacks. Flawed protocols are customarily sent back to the design process, but the costs of reengineering a deployed protocol may be prohibitive. This paper outlines the concept of retaliation: who would steal a sum of money today, should this pose significant risks of having twice as much stolen back tomorrow? When ethics is left behind, attacks are always balanced decisions: if an attack can be retaliated, the economics of security may convince the attacker to refrain from attacking, and us to live with a flawed protocol. This new perspective requires a new threat model where any party may decide to subvert the protocol for his own sake, depending on the risks of retaliation. This threat model, which for example is also suitable to studying nonrepudiation protocols, seems more appropriate than the Dolev-Yao model to the present technological/social setting. It is demonstrated that machine-assisted protocol verification can effectively be adapted to the new threat model.
Citation:Bella, G. and Bistarelli, S. (2008) Retaliation Against Protocol Attacks. Journal of Information Assurance and Security, 3, pp. 313-325
Research Group:Software Technology Research Laboratory (STRL)