Analysis and protection of dynamic membership information for group key distribution schemes

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In secure group-oriented applications, key management schemes are employed to distribute and update keys such that unauthorized parties cannot access group communications. Key management, however, can disclose information about the dynamics of group membership, such as the group size and the number of joining and departing users. This is a threat to applications with confidential group membership information. This paper investigates techniques that can stealthily acquire group dynamic information from key management. We show that insiders and outsiders can successfully obtain group membership information by exploiting key establishment and key updating procedures in many popular key management schemes. Particularly, we develop three attack methods targeting tree-based centralized key management schemes. Further, we propose a defense technique utilizing batch rekeying and phantom users, and derive performance criteria that describe security level of the proposed scheme using mutual information. The proposed defense scheme is evaluated based on the data from MBone multicast sessions. We also provide a brief analysis on the disclosure of group dynamic information in contributory key management schemes. © 2007 IEEE.

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IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security