Visible to the public Biblio

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Conference Paper
Tairi, Erkan, Moreno-Sanchez, Pedro, Maffei, Matteo.  2021.  A2L: Anonymous Atomic Locks for Scalability in Payment Channel Hubs. 2021 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (SP). :1834–1851.
Payment channel hubs (PCHs) constitute a promising solution to the inherent scalability problem of blockchain technologies, allowing for off-chain payments between sender and receiver through an intermediary, called the tumbler. While state-of-the-art PCHs provide security and privacy guarantees against a malicious tumbler, they do so by relying on the scripting-based functionality available only at few cryptocurrencies, and they thus fall short of fundamental properties such as backwards compatibility and efficiency.In this work, we present the first PCH protocol to achieve all aforementioned properties. Our PCH builds upon A2L, a novel cryptographic primitive that realizes a three-party protocol for conditional transactions, where the tumbler pays the receiver only if the latter solves a cryptographic challenge with the help of the sender, which implies the sender has paid the tumbler. We prove the security and privacy guarantees of A2L (which carry over to our PCH construction) in the Universal Composability framework and present a provably secure instantiation based on adaptor signatures and randomizable puzzles. We implemented A2L and compared it to TumbleBit, the state-of-the-art Bitcoin-compatible PCH. Asymptotically, A2L has a communication complexity that is constant, as opposed to linear in the security parameter like in TumbleBit. In practice, A2L requires 33x less bandwidth than TumleBit, while retaining the computational cost (or providing 2x speedup with a preprocessing technique). This demonstrates that A2L (and thus our PCH construction) is ready to be deployed today.In theory, we demonstrate for the first time that it is possible to design a secure and privacy-preserving PCH while requiring only digital signatures and timelock functionality from the underlying scripting language. In practice, this result makes our PCH backwards compatible with virtually all cryptocurrencies available today, even those offering a highly restricted form of scripting language such as Ripple or Stellar. The practical appealing of our construction has resulted in a proof-of-concept implementation in the COMIT Network, a blockchain technology focused on cross-currency payments.
Aumayr, Lukas, Maffei, Matteo, Ersoy, Oğuzhan, Erwig, Andreas, Faust, Sebastian, Riahi, Siavash, Hostáková, Kristina, Moreno-Sanchez, Pedro.  2021.  Bitcoin-Compatible Virtual Channels. 2021 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (SP). :901–918.
Current permissionless cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin suffer from a limited transaction rate and slow confirmation time, which hinders further adoption. Payment channels are one of the most promising solutions to address these problems, as they allow the parties of the channel to perform arbitrarily many payments in a peer-to-peer fashion while uploading only two transactions on the blockchain. This concept has been generalized into payment channel networks where a path of payment channels is used to settle the payment between two users that might not share a direct channel between them. However, this approach requires the active involvement of each user in the path, making the system less reliable (they might be offline), more expensive (they charge fees per payment), and slower (intermediaries need to be actively involved in the payment). To mitigate this issue, recent work has introduced the concept of virtual channels (IEEE S&P’19), which involve intermediaries only in the initial creation of a bridge between payer and payee, who can later on independently perform arbitrarily many off-chain transactions. Unfortunately, existing constructions are only available for Ethereum, as they rely on its account model and Turing-complete scripting language. The realization of virtual channels in other blockchain technologies with limited scripting capabilities, like Bitcoin, was so far considered an open challenge.In this work, we present the first virtual channel protocols that are built on the UTXO-model and require a scripting language supporting only a digital signature scheme and a timelock functionality, being thus backward compatible with virtually every cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin. We formalize the security properties of virtual channels as an ideal functionality in the Universal Composability framework and prove that our protocol constitutes a secure realization thereof. We have prototyped and evaluated our protocol on the Bitcoin blockchain, demonstrating its efficiency: for n sequential payments, they require an off-chain exchange of 9+2n transactions or a total of 3524+695n bytes, with no on-chain footprint in the optimistic case. This is a substantial improvement compared to routing payments in a payment channel network, which requires 8n transactions with a total of 3026n bytes to be exchanged.
Maffei, Matteo, Malavolta, Giulio, Reinert, Manuel, Schröder, Dominique.  2014.  Brief Announcement: Towards Security and Privacy for Outsourced Data in the Multi-party Setting. Proceedings of the 2014 ACM Symposium on Principles of Distributed Computing. :144–146.

Cloud storage has rapidly acquired popularity among users, constituting a seamless solution for the backup, synchronization, and sharing of large amounts of data. This technology, however, puts user data in the direct control of cloud service providers, which raises increasing security and privacy concerns related to the integrity of outsourced data, the accidental or intentional leakage of sensitive information, the profiling of user activities and so on. We present GORAM, a cryptographic system that protects the secrecy and integrity of the data outsourced to an untrusted server and guarantees the anonymity and unlinkability of consecutive accesses to such data. GORAM allows the database owner to share outsourced data with other clients, selectively granting them read and write permissions. GORAM is the first system to achieve such a wide range of security and privacy properties for outsourced storage. Technically, GORAM builds on a combination of ORAM to conceal data accesses, attribute-based encryption to rule the access to outsourced data, and zero-knowledge proofs to prove read and write permissions in a privacy-preserving manner. We implemented GORAM and conducted an experimental evaluation to demonstrate its feasibility.

Malavolta, Giulio, Moreno-Sanchez, Pedro, Kate, Aniket, Maffei, Matteo, Ravi, Srivatsan.  2017.  Concurrency and Privacy with Payment-Channel Networks. Proceedings of the 2017 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security. :455–471.
Permissionless blockchains protocols such as Bitcoin are inherently limited in transaction throughput and latency. Current efforts to address this key issue focus on off-chain payment channels that can be combined in a Payment-Channel Network (PCN) to enable an unlimited number of payments without requiring to access the blockchain other than to register the initial and final capacity of each channel. While this approach paves the way for low latency and high throughput of payments, its deployment in practice raises several privacy concerns as well as technical challenges related to the inherently concurrent nature of payments that have not been sufficiently studied so far. In this work, we lay the foundations for privacy and concurrency in PCNs, presenting a formal definition in the Universal Composability framework as well as practical and provably secure solutions. In particular, we present Fulgor and Rayo. Fulgor is the first payment protocol for PCNs that provides provable privacy guarantees for PCNs and is fully compatible with the Bitcoin scripting system. However, Fulgor is a blocking protocol and therefore prone to deadlocks of concurrent payments as in currently available PCNs. Instead, Rayo is the first protocol for PCNs that enforces non-blocking progress (i.e., at least one of the concurrent payments terminates). We show through a new impossibility result that non-blocking progress necessarily comes at the cost of weaker privacy. At the core of Fulgor and Rayo is Multi-Hop HTLC, a new smart contract, compatible with the Bitcoin scripting system, that provides conditional payments while reducing running time and communication overhead with respect to previous approaches. Our performance evaluation of Fulgor and Rayo shows that a payment with 10 intermediate users takes as few as 5 seconds, thereby demonstrating their feasibility to be deployed in practice.
Squarcina, Marco, Calzavara, Stefano, Maffei, Matteo.  2021.  The Remote on the Local: Exacerbating Web Attacks Via Service Workers Caches. 2021 IEEE Security and Privacy Workshops (SPW). :432—443.
Service workers boost the user experience of modern web applications by taking advantage of the Cache API to improve responsiveness and support offline usage. In this paper, we present the first security analysis of the threats posed by this programming practice, identifying an attack with major security implications. In particular, we show how a traditional XSS attack can abuse the Cache API to escalate into a personin-the-middle attack against cached content, thus compromising its confidentiality and integrity. Remarkably, this attack enables new threats which are beyond the scope of traditional XSS. After defining the attack, we study its prevalence in the wild, finding that the large majority of the sites which register service workers using the Cache API are vulnerable as long as a single webpage in the same origin of the service worker is affected by an XSS. Finally, we propose a browser-side countermeasure against this attack, and we analyze its effectiveness and practicality in terms of security benefits and backward compatibility with existing web applications.
Squarcina, Marco, Calzavara, Stefano, Maffei, Matteo.  2021.  The Remote on the Local: Exacerbating Web Attacks Via Service Workers Caches. 2021 IEEE Security and Privacy Workshops (SPW). :432—443.
Service workers boost the user experience of modern web applications by taking advantage of the Cache API to improve responsiveness and support offline usage. In this paper, we present the first security analysis of the threats posed by this programming practice, identifying an attack with major security implications. In particular, we show how a traditional XSS attack can abuse the Cache API to escalate into a personin-the-middle attack against cached content, thus compromising its confidentiality and integrity. Remarkably, this attack enables new threats which are beyond the scope of traditional XSS. After defining the attack, we study its prevalence in the wild, finding that the large majority of the sites which register service workers using the Cache API are vulnerable as long as a single webpage in the same origin of the service worker is affected by an XSS. Finally, we propose a browser-side countermeasure against this attack, and we analyze its effectiveness and practicality in terms of security benefits and backward compatibility with existing web applications.
Cortier, Veronique, Grimm, Niklas, Lallemand, Joseph, Maffei, Matteo.  2017.  A Type System for Privacy Properties. Proceedings of the 2017 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security. :409–423.
Mature push button tools have emerged for checking trace properties (e.g. secrecy or authentication) of security protocols. The case of indistinguishability-based privacy properties (e.g. ballot privacy or anonymity) is more complex and constitutes an active research topic with several recent propositions of techniques and tools. We explore a novel approach based on type systems and provide a (sound) type system for proving equivalence of protocols, for a bounded or an unbounded number of sessions. The resulting prototype implementation has been tested on various protocols of the literature. It provides a significant speed-up (by orders of magnitude) compared to tools for a bounded number of sessions and complements in terms of expressiveness other state-of-the-art tools, such as ProVerif and Tamarin: e.g., we show that our analysis technique is the first one to handle a faithful encoding of the Helios e-voting protocol in the context of an untrusted ballot box.