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Title: Authentication Without Secrets

This work examines a new approach to authentication, which is the most fundamental security primitive that underpins all cyber security protections. Current Internet authentication techniques require the protection of one or more secret keys along with the integrity protection of the algorithms/computations designed to prove possession of the secret without actually revealing it. Protecting a secret requires physical barriers or encryption with yet another secret key. The reason to strive for "Authentication without Secret Keys" is that protecting secrets (even small ones only kept in a small corner of a component or device) is much harder than protecting the integrity of information that is not secret. Promising methods are examined for authentication of components, data, programs, network transactions, and/or individuals. The successful development of authentication without secret keys will enable far more tractable system security engineering for high exposure, high consequence systems by eliminating the need for brittle protection mechanisms to protect secret keys (such as are now protected in smart cards, etc.). This paper is a re-release of SAND2009-7032 with new figures numerous edits.
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  1. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Sandia National Laboratories (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Country of Publication:
United States