A Bunch of Broken Schemes: A Simple yet Powerful Linear Approach to Analyzing Security of Attribute-Based Encryption

Marloes Venema*, Greg Alpár

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Article in proceedingAcademicpeer-review


Verifying security of advanced cryptographic primitives such as attribute-based encryption (ABE) is often difficult. In this work, we show how to break eleven schemes: two single-authority and nine multi-authority (MA) ABE schemes. Notably, we break DAC-MACS, a highly-cited multi-authority scheme, published at TIFS. This suggests that, indeed, verifying security of complex schemes is complicated, and may require simpler tools. The multi-authority attacks also illustrate that mistakes are made in transforming single-authority schemes into multi-authority ones. To simplify verifying security, we systematize our methods to a linear approach to analyzing generic security of ABE. Our approach is not only useful in analyzing existing schemes, but can also be applied during the design and reviewing of new schemes. As such, it can prevent the employment of insecure (MA-)ABE schemes in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTopics in Cryptology - CT-RSA 2021
Subtitle of host publicationCT-RSA 2021
EditorsKenneth G. Paterson
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9783030755393
ISBN (Print)9783030755386
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2021
EventCryptographers' track at the RSA conference 2021 - Online, San Francisco, United States
Duration: 17 May 202120 May 2021

Publication series

SeriesLecture Notes in Computer Science


ConferenceCryptographers' track at the RSA conference 2021
Abbreviated titleCT-RSA 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco
Internet address


  • ABE
  • Attacks
  • Attribute-based encryption
  • Cryptanalysis
  • Multi-authority attribute
  • Multi-authority attribute-based encryption


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