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On Security Analysis of Recent Password Authentication and Key Agreement Schemes Based on Elliptic Curve Cryptography.

INTRODUCTION

With the rapid growth of internet and wireless communication network, users can easily use the services of remote server anytime and anywhere. The popularity of such services has exposed the information over network to various security threats and the need of practically secure user authentication and key agreement systems has become vital for these networks. Various schemes based on password, biometric, smart card, dynamic-id or a combination of these have been proposed for remote user authentication. Of these, password based authentication schemes have gained more popularity due to their simplicity, scalability, efficiency and convenience. The concept of authentication based on password was introduced by Lamport [1] in 1981. He proposed a password authentication scheme based on hash function that mutually authenticates client and the server. Although it was resistant to eavesdropping and impersonation attack but was vulnerable to replay attacks, offline password guessing attacks and password related problems. A number of improved password authentication and key agreement schemes have been proposed since then. For the purpose of confidentiality and authentication, public key cryptosystems have advantage over symmetric key cryptosystems as they eliminate the problem of key distribution and digital signatures. Neal Koblitz [33] and Victor S. Miller [32] independently proposed security protocols using elliptic curves in 1985. ECC based protocols gained popularity in early 2000 and are the strongest public-key cryptographic systems known today. Compared with RSA, Rabin and Elgamal cryptographic systems, ECC has remarkable strength and efficiency advantages in terms of bandwidth, key sizes and computational overheads. ECC is therefore the most sought after clean and sustainable technology which is widely being implemented in next generation wireless networks, Internet of Things (IoT), embedded systems, smart grids, mobile ad-hoc networks, radio frequency identification and so on. Thus ECC when used in password authentication and update schemes provide high security at a reasonable computational cost.

This paper is organized as follows: In Section II, survey of recent ECC based password authentication and update schemes for smart cards has been done. In Section III, mathematical background of ECC has been given. Security and efficiency analysis of existing schemes is done in Section IV. Section V gives the performance analysis of the existing schemes. Various applications of ECC are presented in Section VI. In Section VII, we outline various issues and propose future directions. Finally in Section VIII, we conclude the paper.

SURVEY OF RECENT ECC BASED PASSSWORD AUTHENTICATION AND UPDATE SCHEMES FOR SMART CARDS

Although a number of password, biometric [30-31], dynamic-id [27-29] based authentication and update schemes have been proposed for smart cards [6] [9][12][14][16][23-26][31], mobile devices [15][17-23], smart grids, etc; it is practically impossible to conduct a survey of all such schemes.

Thus in this paper, we have considered only ECC based password authentication and update schemes for smart cards. Literature survey of various recent password authentication and key agreement schemes based on ECC and the works related to their improvement has been studied in Table I.

MATHEMATICAL BACKGROUND OF ECC

The robustness of any cryptographic security protocol depends on the hardness in solving the underlying mathematical problem. The security of ECC based protocols depend on the difficulty of solving Elliptic Curve Discrete Logarithm Problem (ECDLP), Elliptic Curve Computational Diffie-Hellman Problem (ECCDHP) and Elliptic Curve Decisional Diffie-Hellman Problem (ECDDHP).

Theory of elliptic curve

The equation of a non-singular elliptic curve [E.sub.p](a,b) over a finite field [Z.sub.p] can be written as:

[y.sup.2] mod p[equivalent to][x.sup.3]+ax+b(modp)

where a and b are two integer elements and p is a large prime number. Furthermore, for the above equation to be non-singular, the condition must be satisfied. G is a base point in [E.sub.p](a,b) with a prime order n and O is the point of elliptic curve at infinity, where G multiplies n is equal to O (n.G=O). A cyclic group E = {(x, y) [E.sub.p](a, b)} {O} is formed by any point P(x, y) [E.sub.p](a, b), x, y [Z.sub.p], where O represents additive identity element of the group. The point multiplication is evaluated by iterative addition as,

[mathematical expression not reproducible]

Mathematical problems

The security of ECC based protocols depend on hardness in solving the following problems:

Problem 1. Elliptic Curve Discrete Logarithm Problem (ECDLP): Given the equation P = kG where P, G [member of] [E.sub.p](a, b) and k < p, it is relatively easy to compute P when the values of k and G are known, but it is hard to evaluate k given the values of P and G. Although ECDLP is computationally hard to solve, various exponential algorithms for attacks on ECDLP are known. Such attacks, also known as generic attacks use algorithms like the Pohlig- Hellman [35], Pollard-Rho [36] and parallelized version [37] of the Pollard rho algorithm for attacks on ECDLP. However, if the elliptic curve parameters are cautiously selected, then all the known attacks on ECDLP are believed to be infeasible given the state of today's scientific technology.

Problem 2. Elliptic Curve Computational Diffie-Hellman Problem (ECCDHP): Given G and two point xG, yG, computation of xyG is hard, where x, y [member of] [Z.sub.p.sup.*] and are randomly chosen and are smaller than n. Like ECDLP, the solution to ECCDHP is also computationally hard. The proof of intractability of the ECCDHP was given by Boneh and Lipton [38] who proved that if the ECDLP cannot be solved in subexponential time, then neither can ECCDHP. Shoup's [39] result further provide more evidence of hardness of ECCDHP.

Problem 3. Elliptic Curve Decisional Diffie-Hellman Problem (ECD-DHP): Given G and three point xG, yG, zG, it is hard to decide whether zG = xyG or not, where x, y, z [member of] [Z.sub.p.sup.*] and are chosen randomly and are smaller than n. Like ECCDHP, the solution to ECDDHP is also computationally hard. The evidence of hardness of ECDDHP has been given by Shoup [39].

Elliptic Curve Point Operation

The security of elliptic curve cryptosystem is also based on the efficient execution of arithmetic operations in the underlying field. In point multiplication operation, a point P on the elliptic curve is multiplied with a scalar k using elliptic curve equations to obtain another point R on the same elliptic curve i.e. kP=R. Point multiplication is performed by two basic elliptic curve operations.

* Point addition, where two points P and Q on the elliptic curve are added to obtain another point R which also lie on the same elliptic curve i.e., R = P + Q.

* Point doubling, where the same point P on the elliptic curve is added to itself to obtain another point R on the curve i.e. R = 2P.

An instance of point multiplication operation is as shown. Here let P is a point on elliptic curve and k is a scalar. P is multiplied with k to obtain another point R on the curve i.e. R = kP.

If k = 11 then kP = 11.P = 2(2(2P) + P) + P.

Thus point multiplication operation involves repeated point addition and point doubling operations to find the result.

Also, a point on an elliptic curve if repeatedly added to itself will eventually reach O, the point at infinity. The number of times a point can be repeatedly added to itself until it reaches infinity is called the order of the point.

SECURITY AND EFFICIENCY ANALYSIS

An ideal password authentication and key agreement scheme is expected to satisfy some prerequisite security and functionality features. In this section, we list out these desired attributes. We further compare some of the existing ECC based authentication schemes to analyze their claimed security and functionality goals.

Security Analysis

The security comparison of existing schemes is presented in Table II. The security attributes are discussed as below.

Offline Password Guessing Attack

The offline password guessing attack is a serious problem in any password based remote user authentication scheme. In this type of attack, the adversary eavesdrops various communication messages between remote server (S) and client (A) via insecure channel and tries to guess the client's identity I[D.sub.A] and password P[W.sub.A] from the exchanged messages. Most of the ECC schemes rely on the hard problem of Elliptic Curve Discrete Logarithm Problem (ECDLP) which is impossible to compromise using any polynomial time algorithm. Unfortunately, the adversary can guess the correct password by using the authentication information stored in the user's insecure device or by illegally accessing the secure information stored in the remote server. Also, the client chooses low entropy passwords which can be easily resolved by ECDLP in a polynomial time algorithm, thus exposing the system to offline password guessing attack.

Stolen Verifier Attack

The stolen verifier attack occur when the adversary steals the password verifier [U.sub.A] or other security sensitive information from the server's database and launch an offline guessing attack on it to acquire the client's legitimate password P[W.sub.A]. The adversary may then impersonate as a legitimate client to access the remote server.

Insider Attack

In insider attack, a client A may register with a number of servers [S.sub.1], [S.sub.2],..., [S.sub.n] using the same identity I[D.sub.A] and password P[W.sub.A] for his/her convenience. If the privileged insider [U.sub.1] of server [S.sub.1] has knowledge of A's password P[W.sub.A] and identity I[D.sub.A], then [U.sub.1] may try to access other servers [S.sub.2], [S.sub.3],..., [S.sub.n] by using the same password P[W.sub.A] and identity I[D.sub.A], thereby compromising the security of the system.

Impersonation Attack

In impersonation attack, the adversary makes an attempt to imitate as a legal client A by forging the authentication information of the user. He may eavesdrop the information transmitted between the client A and server S and thus can launch an offline guessing attack on it to acquire the client's legitimate password P[W.sub.A]. Once the adversary obtains the correct password of client A, he can login to the remote server using P[W.sub.A] and I[D.sub.A].

Server Spoofing Attack

Server spoofing attack is also known as server impersonation attack. In this type of attack, the adversary sets up a fake server by manipulating the sensitive data of the legitimate user. The client thus transmits security sensitive information to this fake server without being aware of its authenticity.

Many Logged-in Users Attack

In this attack, it is assumed that the password (P[W.sub.A]) and the identity of A (I[D.sub.A]) are leaked to many adversaries who can in turn login the remote server whenever they want. This is a serious issue as a number of adversaries can cause a security breach using valid password P[W.sub.A] and the identity of I[D.sub.A] thus disrupting the whole system.

Password Disclosure Attack

In password disclosure, the client's password is disclosed by intrusion in the verification table from the server or by using the authentication information stored in the user's insecure device.

Functionality Analysis

The functionality comparison of existing schemes is presented in Table III. The functionality attributes are discussed as below.

Mutual Authentication

Mutual authentication is the mechanism in which both the client and server authenticate each other using response-challenge technique and are assured of each others' legal identity before the initiation of communication over insecure channel. After mutual authentication, the security sensitive information is exchanged between the server and the client.

Freely Choosing and Updating Password

In ideal authentication scheme, the client can easily choose his/her password P[W.sub.A] without any support from the remote server. Also the legal client can modify his/her password anytime using the password change phase.

Session Key Agreement

In session key agreement, after successful mutual authentication a common and secure session key SK is established between the legal server and client in each session. With this SK, the confidential messages between the client and the remote server can exchange safely.

Prevention of Clock Synchronization

The clock synchronization problem arises due to the use of time stamps used in login systems to prevent replay attacks. Random numbers can be used instead of time stamps to prevent replay attack and thus can prevent clock synchronization problem.

User Anonymity

During the communication between client and remote server over an insecure network, the adversary or third parties may know the identity of the client by intercepting the messages exchanged between them. Thus providing user anonymity is very important.

Perfect Forward Secrecy

In perfect forward secrecy, the security of previous sessions established between the legal client and remote server using common session key is not affected even if the security of private keys of client and server is compromised.

Bilinear Pairing

Bilinear pairings derived from the Weil pairings or Tate pairings on elliptic curves are used in cryptography to construct identity and password based cryptographic schemes. It has been found that the cost of the bilinear parings is approximately 20 times more than that of the scalar multiplication over elliptic curve group [34]. Thus using an alternative approach over bilinear pairing improves the performance of the system to a great extent.

PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS

In this section, in order to evaluate the performance of the recent existing schemes, we compare the computation cost of these schemes in each phase. Table IV gives a brief review of the performance by computing the time consumed by various operations in each phase. Here [T.sub.S] denote the symmetric key encryption, [T.sub.H] denote the hash operation, [T.sub.E] denotes the modulus exponentiation operation, [T.sub.EM] denotes the elliptic curve multiplication, [T.sub.A] denotes the elliptic curve addition and subtraction, [T.sub.X] denotes the XOR operation and [T.sub.P] denotes bilinear pairing operation

We analyze that Islam-Biswas's scheme [2] and C.T.Li's scheme [9] make use of bilinear pairings. It has been found that the cost of the bilinear parings is approximately 20 times more than that of the scalar multiplication over elliptic curve group [34] i.e. [T.sub.P] >> [T.sub.EM]. Also Song [16] uses exponential operation and the time taken to perform an exponential operation is approximately 8 times than the time taken to perform one elliptic point multiplication [40] i.e. [T.sub.E] >> [T.sub.EM]. Furthermore, Islam and Biswas [2], Li [9] and Ramesh and Bhaskaran [12] makes use of elliptic curve addition/multiplication which is quite slow than XOR operation which increases their overall computation cost. Thus we can analyze that the existing schemes are quite inefficient in terms of their overall performance.

APPLICATIONS OF ECC

ECC is successfully being used in vast majority of existing applications. In resource constrained environments, elliptic curves are emerging as an attractive alternative over the first generation public key systems like Diffie and Hellman. Also, the elliptic curves are suitable in applications where

* Computing power is limited (intelligent cards, wireless devices, PC boards, PDAs, etc.)

* Processing overheads should be less (wireless sensor networks)

* Memory size on integrated circuit is limited (embedded systems)

* a great speed of computing is necessary (Big Data, e-commerce)

* Digital bandwidth is limited

This makes it suitable for constrained environments like wireless networks, mobile devices as well as security sensitive applications like electronic banking, financial transactions and smart grids. ECC significantly reduces the high processing burden on applications conducting large number of secure transactions thus making it widely acceptable for e-commerce and e-ID documents. ECC delivers faster, more secure processing for e-passports and other government issued e-ID. ECC provides high performance and security at a reasonable cost. Furthermore, it successfully prevents most of the security attacks with a very small key size as compared to other public key cryptosystems like RSA. Today, manufacturers have incorporated ECC into their solutions because the technology is designed for small devices like smart meters, smart cards, etc. Due to this commercialization, ECC based technology is finding applicability in wired and wireless networks, mobile ad-hoc networks, Internet of Things (IoT), radio frequency identification, Wireless Body Area Networks (WBAN), smart grids, big data, ubiquitous computing and so on.

ISSUES AND FUTURE direction

Issues

Despite the wide acceptance of elliptic curves because of their unlimited merits, they have been criticized by researchers on various grounds which limit their use and implementation.

1 Various features of ECC have been patented by corporate and business organizations all over the world. For instance, Certicom Inc. which is a Canadian company holds over 130 patents related to public key cryptography and elliptic curves, thus restricting its usage.

2 Various attacks against curve over prime fields as well as over binary fields are possible if the elliptic curve is not chosen carefully. Such curves which are also known as supersingular or anomalous curves have been identified and strictly prohibited in various projects developing standard specifications for public key cryptography like IEEE P1363, ANSI X9.62 and ANSI X9.63. Many such anomalous curves still remain unidentified.

3 Pollard's Rho method provides a simple yet powerful way to solve discrete logarithm problems on elliptic curves defined over finite fields. The algorithm is easy to implement, requires minimal storage and works for curves defined over any finite field with any type of representation. Thus strengthening the security of system from pollard's attack is a major issue.

4 The security of ECC based authentication schemes is further crippled due to weak passwords. Passwords can be easily compromised by launching offline password guessing, impersonation and stolen verifier attacks. In such a scenario, proposal of password less authentication schemes can remarkably contribute towards improving the security of these systems.

B. Future scope

Despite of the above issues, ECC based applications are getting commercialized. For instance, Certicom has planned to enter the market by selling elliptic curve cryptography based software toolkits. National Security Agency (NSA) which is an American organization utilizes the mathematics of elliptic curves over finite fields for providing internet security. Other countries like U.K and Canada have also adopted ECC based systems to ensure the security of their systems. The popularity and successful implementation of ECC can be estimated from the fact that the US Department of Defense plans at replacing almost 1.3 million existing equipments over the coming decade. New generation of cryptographic equipments that are based on the mathematics of elliptic curves for key management and digital signatures are successfully being used in defense sector in many countries. Thus we can foresee the bright future of ECC in the coming years.

CONCLUSIONS

Elliptic Curve Cryptography provides higher security and efficiency than other public key cryptosystems (RSA, Rabin and Elgamal). In implementations, the savings of processing overhead leads to higher processing speeds, lower power consumption and code size reductions. The applications seeking practically efficient, clean and sustainable solutions to network security threats have seriously considered elliptic curve cryptosystems as an attractive alternative over the other systems. Unfortunately, we observe that no single scheme till date satisfies all the security and functionality requirements. Thus robust and improved elliptic curve cryptography based authentication scheme need to be developed that not only provide all the security and functionality features but also reduce the computation costs.

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Prabhdeep Kaur

Guru Nanak Dev University, Regional Campus, Jalandhar, India.

Sheetal Kalra

Guru Nanak Dev University, Regional Campus, Jalandhar, India.

DOI: 10.15415/jtmge.2015.61004
Table 1: Survey of recent password authentication schemes based on ECC

Year  Author     Related Research Scholarship

                 In this paper, they studied the flaws of Lin and Hwang
                 scheme [3] and found that it is susceptible to insider
      Islam      attack, stolen verifier attack, impersonation attack,
2011  and        many logged-in users attack, known session specific
      Biswas     temporary information attack and proposed a secure
      [2]        password authentication and update scheme based on
                 ECC. Their scheme also generates a common ECC based
                 secret key that is used for symmetric encryption.
                 In this paper, he analyzed the security of Islam and
                 Biswas scheme [2] and found that it is vulnerable to
2011  D. He [4]  three kinds of attacks in different scenarios: (1)
                 Stolen-verifier attack (2) Offline password guessing
                 attack (3) Privileged Insider attack
      Wang,      In this paper, they studied Wang et al. [6] scheme and
2011  Juang      found that it is vulnerable to smart card loss problem
      and Lei    and known key attack. They further proposed a key
      [5]        agreement scheme based on the elliptic curve discrete
                 logarithm problem.
      He, Wu     In this paper, they performed a cryptanalysis of Islam
      and Chen   and Biswas scheme [2] and found that their scheme is
2012  [7]        vulnerable to offline password guessing attack and
                 stolen-verifier attack.
                 In this paper, they analyzed Islam and Biswas scheme
      Wang et    [2] and showed it has following weaknesses: (1) It is
2012  al. [8]    susceptible to offline password guessing attack,
                 stolen verifier attack and denial of service (DoS)
                 attack; (2) It also fails to preserve user anonymity.
                 In this paper, he analyzed Islam and Biswas scheme [2]
      C. T.Li    and found that it is prone to offline password
2012  [9]        guessing attack, stolen-verifier and insider attacks.
                 He further proposed a smart card based ECC scheme that
                 also provides user anonymity.
                 In this paper, she demonstrated that in addition to
                 previously found security flaws [4][8][9] in Islam and
                 Biswas scheme [2] like offline password guessing
                 attack, stolen verifier attack, privilege insider
                 attack, and denial of service attack, their scheme
2014  Wang       cannot resist password compromise impersonation
      [10]       attack. She further proposed an anonymous remote
                 authentication scheme using smart card without using
                 bilinear paring computation. She claimed that her
                 scheme not only inherits the advantages in Islam and
                 Biswas' scheme, but also provides more features,
                 including preserving user anonymity, supporting
                 offline password change, revocation, re-registration
                 with the same identifier and system update.
                 In this paper, they proposed a security enhanced
      Qiao and   scheme that eliminates the weaknesses of Islam and
2014  Tu [11]    Biswas scheme [2] as pointed out by He et al. [7].
                 They claimed that their scheme performs better than
                 Islam and Biswas's scheme and is more suitable for
                 practical applications.
                 In this paper, they analyzed Li's scheme [9] and
                 demonstrated that Li's scheme is prone to insiders
      Ramesh     attack, password guessing attack, stolen verifier
      and        attack and does not provide user anonymity. It is also
2014  Bhaskaran  inefficient in error password login. They also found
      [12]       that when the public key of the server is compromised,
                 the adversary can obtain all the previous session keys
                 between user and the server. They further proposed an
                 improved scheme that inherits the merits of Li's
                 scheme with the removal of modular computations
                 involved in bilinear pairing operations.

Table 2: Security Comparison of the Existing Schemes

Security Characteristics  Song et   Islam   C.T.Li  S.Ramesh
                          al. [16]  [2]     [9]     [12]

                          (2010)    (2011)  (2012)  (2014)

Offline password          No        Yes     Yes     Yes
guessing attack
Stolen verifier           No        Yes     Yes     Yes
attack
Insider attack            Yes       Yes     Yes     Yes
Impersonation             Yes       Yes     No      Yes
attack
Server spoofing           Yes       Yes     Yes     Yes
attack
Many logged-in            No        No      No      Yes
users attack
Password disclosure       No        No      No      No
attack

Table 3: Functionality Comparison of the Existing Schemes

Functionality comparisons            Song et   Islam   C.T.Li  S.Ramesh
                                     al. [16]  [2]     [9]     [12]

                                     (2010)    (2011)  (2012)  (2014)

Mutual authentication                Yes       No      No      No
Freely choosing and updating         Yes       Yes     Yes     Yes
password
Session key agreement                Yes       Yes     No      Yes
Prevention of clock synchronization  No        Yes     Yes     Yes
User anonymity                       No        No      No      No
Perfect forward secrecy              No        No      No      No
Bilinear pairing                     No        Yes     Yes     No

Table 4: Computation Cost Comparison of the Existing Schemes

Computation cost          Song et
                          al. [16]
                          (2010)

Registration Phase        [T.sub.E] + 2[T.sub.H]
Login & Authentication    2[T.sub.S] + 5[T.sub.H] + [T.sub.E]
Phase
Session key generation    2[T.sub.H]
Phase
Password change Phase     3[T.sub.H] + [T.sub.E]

Computation cost        Islam
                        [2]
                        (2011)

Registration Phase      [T.sub.EM]
Login & Authentication  2[T.sub.S] + 4[T.sub.H] + 6[T.sub.EM] +
Phase                   2[T.sub.P] + 2[T.sub.A]
Session key generation  2[T.sub.S] + 4[T.sub.H] + 8[T.sub.EM] +
Phase                   2[T.sub.P] + 2[T.sub.A]
Password change Phase   2[T.sub.S] + 4[T.sub.H] + 8[T.sub.EM] +
                        2[T.sub.P] + 4[T.sub.A]

Computation cost        C.T.Li
                        [9]
                        (2012)

Registration Phase      2[T.sub.EM]
Login & Authentication  2[T.sub.S] + 4[T.sub.H] + 11[T.sub.EM] +
Phase                   2[T.sub.P] + 2[T.sub.A]
Session key generation  2[T.sub.S] + 4[T.sub.H] + 13[T.sub.EM] +
Phase                   2[T.sub.P] + 2[T.sub.A]
Password change Phase   2[T.sub.S] + 4[T.sub.H] + 11[T.sub.EM] +
                        2[T.sub.P] + 4[T.sub.A]

Computation cost        S.Ramesh
                        [12]
                        (2014)

Registration Phase      [T.sub.EM]+3[T.sub.H]+4[T.sub.X]
Login & Authentication  2[T.sub.S] + 5[T.sub.H] + 6[T.sub.EM] +
Phase                   6[T.sub.X] + 2[T.sub.A]
Session key generation  2[T.sub.S] + 5[T.sub.H] + 8[T.sub.EM] +
Phase                   6[T.sub.X] + 2[T.sub.A]
Password change Phase   2[T.sub.S] + 5[T.sub.H] + 6[T.sub.EM] +
                        6[T.sub.X] + 4[T.sub.A]
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Author:Kaur, Prabhdeep; Kalra, Sheetal
Publication:Journal of Technology Management for Growing Economies (JTMGE)
Article Type:Report
Date:Apr 1, 2015
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