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On the Decidability of Cryptographic Protocols with Open-ended Data Structures

Ralf Küsters

Formal analysis of cryptographic protocols has mainly concentrated on protocols with closed-ended data structures. That is, the messages exchanged between principals have fixed and finite format. However, in many protocols the data structures used are open-ended, i.e., messages have an unbounded number of data fields. Formal analysis of protocols with open-ended data structures is one of the challenges pointed out by Meadows. This work studies decidability issues for such protocols. We propose a protocol model in which principals are described by transducers, i.e., finite automata with output, and show that in this model security -- in presence of the standard Dolev-Yao intruder -- is decidable and PSPACE-hard.