# Digital signature forgery

(Redirected from Selective forgery)

In a cryptographic digital signature or MAC system, digital signature forgery is the ability to create a pair consisting of a message, $m$ , and a signature (or MAC), $\sigma$ , that is valid for $m$ , but has not been created in the past by the legitimate signer. There are different types of forgery.

To each of these types, security definitions can be associated. A signature scheme is secure by a specific definition if no forgery of the associated type is possible.

## Types

The following definitions are ordered from lowest to highest achieved security, in other words, from most powerful to the weakest attack. The definitions form a hierarchy, meaning that an attacker able to do mount a specific attack can execute all the attacks further down the list. Likewise, a scheme that reaches a certain security goal also reaches all prior ones.

### Total break

More general than the following attacks, there is also a total break: when adversary can compute the signer's private key, they can forge any possible signature on any message.

### Universal forgery (universal unforgeability, UUF)

Universal forgery is the creation (by an adversary) of a valid signature, $\sigma$ , for any given message, $m$ . An adversary capable of universal forgery is able to sign messages he chose himself (as in selective forgery), messages chosen at random, or even specific messages provided by an opponent.

### Selective forgery (selective unforgeability, SUF)

Selective forgery is the creation of a message/signature pair $(m,\sigma )$ by an adversary, where $m$ has been chosen by the challenger prior to the attack. $m$ may be chosen to have interesting mathematical properties with respect to the signature algorithm; however, in selective forgery, $m$ must be fixed before the start of the attack.

The ability to successfully conduct a selective forgery attack implies the ability to successfully conduct an existential forgery attack.

### Existential forgery (existential unforgeability, EUF)

Existential forgery is the creation (by an adversary) of at least one message/signature pair, $(m,\sigma )$ , where $m$ has never been signed by the legitimate signer. The adversary can choose $m$ freely; $m$ need not have any particular meaning; the message content is irrelevant — as long as the pair, $(m,\sigma )$ , is valid, the adversary has succeeded in constructing an existential forgery. Thus, creating an existential forgery is easier than a selective forgery, because the attacker may select a message $m$ for which a forgery can easily be created, whereas in the case of a selective forgery, the challenger can ask for the signature of a “difficult” message.

#### Example of an existential forgery

The RSA cryptosystem has the following multiplicative property: $\sigma (m_{1})\cdot \sigma (m_{2})=\sigma (m_{1}\cdot m_{2})$ .

This property can be exploited by creating a message $m'=m_{1}\cdot m_{2}$ with a signature $\sigma (m')=\sigma (m_{1}\cdot m_{2})=\sigma (m_{1})\cdot \sigma (m_{2})$ .

A common defense to this attack is to hash the messages before signing them.

### Strong existential forgery (strong (existential) unforgeability, sEUF or SUF)

This notion is a stronger (more secure) variant of the existential forgery detailed above. Existential forgery is the creation (by an adversary) of at least one message/signature pair, $(m,\sigma )$ , where $(m,\sigma )$ was not produced by the legitimate signer. The difference to existential forgery is that an attacker wins if, after asking for a signature of some message, they can create a different signature $\sigma '$ for the same message.

Strong existential forgery is essentially the weakest adversarial goal, therefore the strongest schemes are those that are strongly existentially unforgeable.