## Athena: a new efficient automatic checker for security protocol analysis (1999)

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Venue: | In Proceedings of the Twelth IEEE Computer Security Foundations Workshop |

Citations: | 72 - 1 self |

### BibTeX

@INPROCEEDINGS{Song99athena:a,

author = {Dawn Xiaodong Song},

title = {Athena: a new efficient automatic checker for security protocol analysis},

booktitle = {In Proceedings of the Twelth IEEE Computer Security Foundations Workshop},

year = {1999},

pages = {192--202},

publisher = {IEEE Computer Society Press}

}

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### Abstract

We propose an efficient automatic checking algorithm, Athena, for analyzing security protocols. Athena incorporates a logic that can express security properties including authentication, secrecy and properties related to electronic commerce. We have developed an automatic procedure for evaluating well-formed formulae in this logic. For a well-formed formula, if the evaluation procedure terminates, it will generate a counterexample if the formula is false, or provide a proof if the formula is true. Even when the procedure does not terminate when we allow any arbitrary configurations of the protocol execution, (for example, any number of initiators and responders), termination could be forced by bounding the number of concurrent protocol runs and the length of messages, as is done in most existing model checkers. Athena also exploits several state space reduction techniques. It is based on an extension of the recently proposed Strand Space Model [25] which captures exact causal relation information. Together with backward search and other techniques, Athena naturally avoids the state space explosion problem commonly caused by asynchronous composition and symmetry redundancy. Athena also has the advantage that it can easily incorporate results from theorem proving through unreachability theorems. By using the unreachability theorems, it can prune the state space at an early stage, hence, reduce the state space explored and increase the likely-hood of termination. As shown in our experiments, these techniques dramatically reduce the state space that needs to be explored.