Events in Security Protocols

Federico Crazzolara
Glynn Winskel

April 2001


The events of a security protocol and their causal dependency can play an important role in the analysis of security properties. This insight underlies both strand spaces and the inductive method. But neither of these approaches builds up the events of a protocol in a compositional way, so that there is an informal spring from the protocol to its model. By broadening the models to certain kinds of Petri nets, a restricted form of contextual nets, a compositional event-based semantics is given to an economical, but expressive, language for describing security protocols; so the events and dependency of a wide range of protocols are determined once and for all. The net semantics is formally related to a transition semantics, strand spaces and inductive rules, as well as trace languages and event structures, so unifying a range of approaches, as well as providing conditions under which particular, more limited, models are adequate for the analysis of protocols. The net semantics allows the derivation of general properties and proof principles which are demonstrated in establishing an authentication property, following a diagrammatic style of proof

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