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Journal of Information Science and Engineering, Vol. 28 No. 5, pp. 829-857 (September 2012)

Scalable Group Key Exchange for Securing Distributed Operating Systems*

1Department of Computer Engineering
Konkuk University
Chungju-si, 380-701 Korea
2Department of Computer Engineering
Sungkyunkwan University
Suwon-si, 440-746 Korea

Distributed operating systems are designed to run over a collection of computing nodes that are spatially disseminated and communicate through a computer network. The computing nodes interact collaboratively with each other in order to pursue a common purpose. Protecting group communication between the collaborating nodes against potential attacks is one of the major challenges faced by the designers of distributed operating systems. This challenge can be effectively addressed by a group key exchange (GKE) protocol which allows a group of communicating parties to build a secure multicast channel over an insecure network. In this work, we propose a scalable GKE protocol that achieves both constant round complexity and logarithmic computation complexity. Our GKE protocol achieves its scalability by employing a complete binary tree structure combined with a so-called ¡§nonce-chained authentication technique¡¨. Besides the scalability, our protocol features provable security against active adversaries in a well-defined communication model.

Keywords: distributed operating system, security, group key exchange, session key, binary tree

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Received May 31, 2011; accepted March 31, 2012.
Communicated by Jiman Hong, Junyoung Heo and Tei-Wei Kuo.
* This work was supported by Priority Research Centers Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (2011-0018397) and by Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) and from Korea Copyright Commission in 2011.
+ Corresponding author.