Secure and efficient asynchronous broadcast protocols

Christian Cachin, Klaus Kursawe, Frank Petzold, Victor Shoup

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Broadcast protocols are a fundamental building block for implementing replication in fault-tolerant distributed systems. This paper addresses secure service replication in an asynchronous environment with a static set of servers, where a malicious adversary may corrupt up to a threshold of servers and controls the network. We develop a formal model using concepts from modern cryptography, give modular definitions for several broadcast problems, including reliable, atomic, and secure causal broadcast, and present protocols implementing them. Reliable broadcast is a basic primitive, also known as the Byzantine generals problem, providing agreement on a delivered message. Atomic broadcast imposes additionally a total order on all delivered messages. We present a randomized atomic broadcast protocol based on a new, efficient multi-valued asynchronous Byzantine agreement primitive with an external validity condition. Apparently, no such efficient asynchronous atomic broadcast protocol maintaining liveness and safety in the Byzantine model has appeared previously in the literature. Secure causal broadcast extends atomic broadcast by encryption to guarantee a causal order among the delivered messages. Our protocols use threshold cryptography for signatures, encryption, and coin-tossing.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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