An Epistemic Foundation for Authentication Logics (Extended Abstract)

Joseph Y. Halpern
(Cornell University)
Ron van der Meyden
(University of New South Wales)
Riccardo Pucella
(Forrester Research)

While there have been many attempts, going back to BAN logic, to base reasoning about security protocols on epistemic notions, they have not been all that successful. Arguably, this has been due to the particular logics chosen. We present a simple logic based on the well-understood modal operators of knowledge, time, and probability, and show that it is able to handle issues that have often been swept under the rug by other approaches, while being flexible enough to capture all the higher- level security notions that appear in BAN logic. Moreover, while still assuming that the knowledge operator allows for unbounded computation, it can handle the fact that a computationally bounded agent cannot decrypt messages in a natural way, by distinguishing strings and message terms. We demonstrate that our logic can capture BAN logic notions by providing a translation of the BAN operators into our logic, capturing belief by a form of probabilistic knowledge.

In Jérôme Lang: Proceedings Sixteenth Conference on Theoretical Aspects of Rationality and Knowledge (TARK 2017), Liverpool, UK, 24-26 July 2017, Electronic Proceedings in Theoretical Computer Science 251, pp. 306–323.
Published: 25th July 2017.

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