Third European Symposium on Research in Computer Security (ESORICS 94)
Beacon Based Authentication
Azad Jiwa, Jennifer Seberry, Yuliang Zheng
Keywords : Beacon, Authentication, Network Security, Information Security, Security Protocol
Abstract : Reliable authentication of communicating entities is essential for achieving security in a distributed computing environment. The design of such systems as Kerberos, SPX and more recently KryptoKnight and Kusperee, have largely been successful in addressing the problem. The common element with these implementations is the need for a trusted third-party authentication service. This essentially requires a great deal of trust to be invested in the authentication server which adds a level of complexity and reduces system flexibility. The use of a Beacon to promote trust between communicating parties was first suggested by M. Rabin in "Transactions protected by beacons," Journal of Computer and System Sciences, Vol. 27, pp 256-267, 1983. In this paper we revive Rabin's ideas which have been largely overlooked in the past decade. In particular we present a novel approach to the authentication problem based on a service called Beacon which continuously broadcasts certified nonces. We argue that this approach considerably simplifies the solution to the authentication problem and we illustrate the impact of such a service by "Beaconizing" the well know Needham and Schroeder protocol. The modified protocol would be suitable for deployment at upper layers of the communication stack.
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