- Security protocol notation
Security (engineering) protocol notation is a way of expressing a protocol of correspondence between entities of a dynamic system, such as a
computer network. In the context of a formal model, it allows reasoning about the properties of such a system.
The standard notation consists of a set of individuals (traditionally named Alice, Bob, Charlie, and so on) who wish to communicate. They may have access to a server S, shared keys K, timestamps T, and can generate nonces N for authentication purposes.
A simple example might be the following:
This states that Alice intends a message for Bob consisting of a plain text encrypted under shared key KAB.
Another example might be the following:
This states that Bob intends a message for Alice consisting of a Nonce encrypted using public key of Alice.
A key with two subscripts is a
symmetric keyshared by the two corresponding individuals. A key with one subscript is the public key of the corresponding individual. A private key is represented as the inverse of the public key.
The notation specifies only the operation and not its semantics — for instance, public key encryption and signature are represented identically.
We can express more complicated protocols in such a fashion. See Kerberos as an example.
Several models exist to reason about security protocols in this way, one of which is
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