The impossibility of obfuscation with auxiliary input or a universal simulator

Nir Bitansky, Ran Canetti, Henry Cohn, Shafi Goldwasser, Yael Tauman Kalai, Omer Paneth, Alon Rosen

In this paper we show that the existence of general indistinguishability obfuscators conjectured in a few recent works implies, somewhat counterintuitively, strong impossibility results for virtual black box obfuscation. In particular, we show that indistinguishability obfuscation for all circuits implies: * The impossibility of average-case virtual black box obfuscation with auxiliary input for any circuit family with super-polynomial pseudo-entropy. Such circuit families include all pseudo-random function families, and all families of encryption algorithms and randomized digital signatures that generate their required coin flips pseudo-randomly. Impossibility holds even when the auxiliary input depends only on the public circuit family, and not the specific circuit in the family being obfuscated. * The impossibility of average-case virtual black box obfuscation with a universal simulator (with or without any auxiliary input) for any circuit family with super-polynomial pseudo-entropy. These bounds significantly strengthen the impossibility results of Goldwasser and Kalai (STOC 2005).

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