Special issue on applied cryptography for information and communication networks


Cryptographic mechanisms are the foundation of security defense and play a key role in ensuring security against network attacks. The developments of information and communication networks continously introduce new security issues and challenges. As an example, Smart Grid is highly dependent on digital communication networks to improve the efficiency and reliability of electrical power delivery. Security mechanisms for Smart Grid need to accommodate “real-time security”, since security-related operations and communications must execute within a few milliseconds in some applications. This calls for the urgent need to consider and develop new cryptographic mechanisms to mitigate new adversarial activities and satisfy specific requirements.

The purpose of this special issue is to present recent advances on Applied Cryptography for Information and Communication Networks. We are pleased to present to you eight papers dealing with cutting-edge research and technology related to this topic. The selection was carried out by reviewers all around the world and the process has been rigorous.

Telecare Medical Information System (TMIS) has evolved as an effective tool to provide quality healthcare services. In the first paper, “Cryptanalysis and Improvement of ‘An Efficient and Secure Dynamic ID-based Authentication Scheme for Telecare Medical Information Systems’ ” [1], Khan and Kumari present a new user authentication scheme for TMIS, which is an improvement of the scheme of Chen et al. for TMIS. The proposed scheme is free from various security problems existing in the scheme of Chen et al. The security analysis and comparison supports enhanced applicability of the proposed scheme for secure access to healthcare services

In the second paper, “Publishing and Sharing Encrypted Data with Potential Friends in Online Social Networks” [2], Shuai and Zhu propose a full-fledged access control scheme called Masque+ for online social networks employing attribute-based encryption. With Masque+, one can publish and share his encrypted data with potential new friends who have the same interests just as in a masquerade with various themes. Data security and personal privacy are protected in Masque+ because all published files are specifically encrypted and only users satisfying the embedded access control structure can decrypt the content.

In the third paper, “Signer-Admissible Strong Designated Verifier Signature from Bilinear Pairings” [3], Wang proposes a new concept of signer-admissible strong designated verifier signature (SDVS). By utilizing bilinear pairings and the modified ElGamal signature, he designs an efficient identity-based SDVS scheme with signer-admission property. Compared with existing identity-based SDVS schemes, the new scheme is efficient and supports the property of signer-admission.

Homomorphic Message Authentication Code (MAC) is a novel authentication method for network coding and has received much attention. In the fourth paper, “A Generic Homomorphic MAC Construction for Authentication in Network Coding” [4], Wang and Hu propose a generic homomorphic MAC scheme on the basis of linear mapping over finite fields. This scheme has an advantage over the previous ones based on either inner product or trace function over finite fields, due to its flexible algebraic structure. By using it, one can optimize some existing schemes based on the vector inner product or the trace function.

In the fifth paper, “Secure Universal Designated Verifier Identity-based Signcryption” [5], Lin et al. propose the notion of universal designated verifier signcryption without secure channels. They give formal definitions and a concrete construction of universal designated verifier identity-based signcryption scheme by combining the notions of universal designated verifier signcryption and signcryption. They also give formal security proofs for the proposed scheme under the random oracle model.

In the sixth paper, “Efficient Certificateless Encryption Withstanding Attacks from Malicious KGC Without using Random Oracles” [6], Yang and Zhang show the insecurity of the Certificateless Encryption (CLE) scheme, as presented by Zhang and Wang (ZW scheme). Then, they introduce a new efficient CLE scheme and prove its security under adaptive chosen-ciphertext attacks without using random oracles. The new scheme not only gets rid of the security drawbacks of ZW scheme but also keeps its most distinctive feature of a short public key length. The formal security proofs of the new scheme are presented in the standard model assuming the hardness of the decisional truncated q-ABDHE problem and the hardness of the decisional bilinear Diffie–Hellman problem.

Handoff and lightweight re-authentication are required to achieve a high quality of real-time applications and low network load caused by re-authentication. In the seventh paper, “A Local Joint Fast Handoff Scheme in Cognitive Wireless Mesh Networks” [7], He et al. propose a solution to mitigate the communication interruption time and extra authentication flows caused by handoff for cognitive wireless mesh networks. They propose a handoff authentication protocol based on proxy signature schemes, in which the mesh router is capable of authorizing the handoff of the mesh client through proxy signatures.

In the last paper, “Efficient Public Key Encryption with Revocable Keyword Search” [8], Yu et al. propose the notion of public key encryption with revocable keyword search (PERKS) and develop a concrete construction by dividing the whole life of the system into distinct time periods to prevent the untrusted server from searching the data all the time. The proposed scheme achieves the properties of IND-CKA security under the Co-DBDH assumption in the given security model. Compared with two other similar schemes, the new scheme offers much better performance in terms of computational cost.

We sincerely hope that you will enjoy reading these papers. We thank all the international reviewers for their professional services. We deeply thank Professor Hsiao-Hwa Chen, the Editor-in-Chief, for providing the opportunity to create this special issue. His continuous support, encouragement, and guidance through the whole publication project has been invaluable.