Networking Investigate

Survival in the Wild: Robust Group Key Agreement in Wide-Area Networks

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Executive Summary

Group Key Agreement (GKA) allows a set of players to establish a shared secret and thus bootstrap secure group communication. GKA is very useful in many types of peer group scenarios and applications. Since all GKA protocols involve multiple rounds, robustness to player failures is important and desirable. A Robust Group Key Agreement (RGKA) protocol runs to completion even if some players fail during protocol execution. Previous work yielded constant-round RGKA protocols suitable for the LAN setting, assuming players are homogeneous, failure probability is uniform and player failures are independent. However, in a more general Wide Area Network (WAN) environment, heterogeneous hardware/software and communication facilities can cause wide variations in failure probability among players.

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