Security analysis of a single sign-on mechanism for distributed computer networks

Citation data:

IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics, ISSN: 1551-3203, Vol: 9, Issue: 1, Page: 294-302

Publication Year:
Usage 1152
Downloads 968
Abstract Views 146
Link-outs 38
Captures 44
Readers 42
Exports-Saves 2
Citations 31
Citation Indexes 31
Repository URL:
Wang, Guilin; Yu, Jiangshan; Xie, Qi
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Engineering; Computer Science; analysis; networks; security; mechanism; computer; sign; single; distributed; Science and Technology Studies
article description
Single sign-on (SSO) is a new authentication mechanism that enables a legal user with a single credential to be authenticated by multiple service providers in a distributed computer network. Recently, Chang and Lee proposed a new SSO scheme and claimed its security by providing well-organized security arguments. In this paper, however, we demonstrative that their scheme is actually insecure as it fails to meet credential privacy and soundness of authentication. Specifically, we present two impersonation attacks. The first attack allows a malicious service provider, who has successfully communicated with a legal user twice, to recover the user's credential and then to impersonate the user to access resources and services offered by other service providers. In another attack, an outsider without any credential may be able to enjoy network services freely by impersonating any legal user or a nonexistent user. We identify the flaws in their security arguments to explain why attacks are possible against their SSO scheme. Our attacks also apply to another SSO scheme proposed by Hsu and Chuang, which inspired the design of the Chang-Lee scheme. Moreover, by employing an efficient verifiable encryption of RSA signatures proposed by Ateniese, we propose an improvement for repairing the Chang-Lee scheme. We promote the formal study of the soundness of authentication as one open problem. © 2005-2012 IEEE.