Private Circuits: Can you keep a secret while your brain is being tampered with?

Amit Sahai
Computer Science

Motivated by the problem of protecting cryptographic hardware, we continue the investigation of private circuits initiated in [Ishai-Sahai-Wagner 2003]. In this work, our aim is to construct circuits that should protect the secrecy of their internal state against an adversary who may modify the values of an unbounded number of wires, anywhere in the circuit. In contrast, all previous works on protecting cryptographic hardware relied on an assumption that some portion of the circuit must remain completely free from tampering.

We obtain the first feasibility results for such private circuits. Our main result is an efficient transformation of a circuit C, realizing an arbitrary (reactive) functionality, into a private circuit C0 realizing the same functionality. The transformed circuit can successfully detect any serious tampering and erase all data in the memory. In terms of the information available to the adversary, even in the presence of an unbounded number of adaptive wire faults, the circuit C0 emulates a black-box access to C.

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