On Virtual Grey Box Obfuscation for General Circuits

Friday, October 17, 2014 - 10:30am to 12:00pm
MIT (Stata Center, Hewlett room, 32-G882)
Nir Bitansky, MIT

Abstract: An obfuscator $\O$ is Virtual Grey Box (VGB) for a class $\C$ of circuits if, for any $C \in \C$ and any predicate $\pi$, deducing $\pi(C)$ given $\O(C)$ is tantamount to deducing $\pi(C)$ given unbounded computational resources and polynomially many oracle queries to $C$. VGB obfuscation is often significantly more meaningful than indistinguishability obfuscation (IO). In fact, for some circuit families of interest VGB is equivalent to full-fledged Virtual Black Box obfuscation.

We investigate the feasibility of obtaining VGB obfuscation for general circuits. We first formulate a natural strengthening of IO, called {\em strong IO} (SIO). Essentially, $\O$ is SIO for class $\C$ if $\O(C)$ is computationally indistinguishable from $\O(C')$ whenever the pair $(C,C')$ is taken from a distribution over $\C$ where, for all $x$, $C(x)\neq C'(x)$ only with negligible probability.

We then show that an obfuscator is VGB for a class $\C$ if and only if it is SIO for $\C$. This result is unconditional and holds for any $\C$. We also show that, for some circuit collections, SIO implies virtual black-box obfuscation.

Finally, we formulate a slightly stronger variant of the semantic security property of graded encoding schemes [Pass-Seth-Telang Crypto 14], and show that existing obfuscators, such as the obfuscator of Barak et al. [Eurocrypt 14], are SIO for all circuits in NC$^1$, assuming that the underlying graded encoding scheme satisfies our variant of semantic security.

{\em Put together, we obtain VGB obfuscation for all NC$^1$ circuits under assumptions that are almost the same as those used by Pass et al. to obtain IO for NC$^1$ circuits.} We also show that semantic security is in essence {\em necessary} for showing VGB obfuscation.

Joint work with Ran Canetti, Yael Tauman-Kalai, and Omer Paneth