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A public-key based authentication and key establishment protocol coupled with a client puzzle



Network Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks, which exhaust server resources and network bandwidth, can cause the target servers to be unable to provide proper services to the legitimate users and in some cases render the target systems inoperable and/or the target networks inaccessible. DoS attacks have now become a serious and common security threat to the Internet community. Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) has long been incorporated in various authentication protocols to facilitate verifying the identities of the communicating parties. The use of PKI has, however, an inherent problem as it involves expensive computational operations such as modular exponentiation. An improper deployment of the public-key operations in a protocol could create an opportunity for DoS attackers to exhaust the server's resources. This paper presents a public-key based authentication and key establishment protocol coupled with a sophisticated client puzzle, which together provide a versatile solution for possible DoS attacks and various other common attacks during an authentication process. Besides authentication, the protocol also supports a joint establishment of a session key by both the client and the server, which protects the session communications after the mutual authentication. The proposed protocol has been validated using a formal logic theory and has been shown, through security analysis, to be able to resist, besides DoS attacks, various other common attacks.