Progressive and Efficient Verification for Digital Signatures: Extensions and Experimental Results

Authors: C. Boschini, D. Fiore, E. Pagnin, L. Torresetti, and A. Visconti
In: Journal of Cryptographic Engineering, 2024
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Digital signatures are widely deployed to authenticate the source of incoming information, or to certify data integrity. Common signature verification procedures return a decision (accept/reject) only at the very end of the execution. If interrupted prematurely, however, the verification process cannot infer any meaningful information about the validity of the given signature. This limitation is due to the algorithm design solely, and it is not inherent to signature verification. In this work, we provide a formal framework to extract information from prematurely interrupted signature verification, independently of why the process halts: we propose a generic verification procedure that progressively builds confidence on the final decision. Our transformation builds on a simple but powerful intuition and applies to a wide range of existing schemes considered to be post-quantum secure, including some lattices-based and multivariate equations based constructions. We demonstrate the feasibility of our approach through an implementation on off-the-shelf resource-constrained devices. In particular, an intensive testing activity has been conducted measuring the increase of performance on three IoT boards — i.e., Arduino, Raspberry, and Espressif — and a consumer-grade laptop. While the primary motivation of progressive verification is to mitigate unexpected interruptions, we show that verifiers can leverage it in two innovative ways. First, progressive verification can be used to intentionally adjust the soundness of the verification process. Second, our transformation splits verification into a computationally intensive offline set-up (run once), and an efficient online verification that is faster than the original algorithm. We conclude showing how to tweak our compiler for progressive verification to work on a wide range of signatures with properties, on three real-life use cases, and in combination with efficient verification.

Keywords: Digital Signatures, Efficient Verification, IoT, Provable Security.