An Information Theoretic Approach to Secret Sharing

Shaofeng Zou, Yingbin Liang, Lifeng Lai, Shlomo Shamai

A novel information theoretic approach is proposed to solve the secret sharing problem, in which a dealer distributes one or multiple secrets among a set of participants that for each secret only qualified sets of users can recover it by pooling their shares together while non-qualified sets of users obtain no information about the secret even if they pool their shares together. While existing secret sharing systems (implicitly) assume that communications between the dealer and participants are noiseless, this paper takes a more practical assumption that the dealer delivers shares to the participants via a noisy broadcast channel. An information theoretic approach is proposed, which exploits the channel as additional resources to achieve secret sharing requirements. In this way, secret sharing problems can be reformulated as equivalent secure communication problems via wiretap channels, and can be solved by employing powerful information theoretic security techniques. This approach is first developed for the classic secret sharing problem, in which only one secret is to be shared. This classic problem is shown to be equivalent to a communication problem over a compound wiretap channel. The lower and upper bounds on the secrecy capacity of the compound channel provide the corresponding bounds on the secret sharing rate. The power of the approach is further demonstrated by a more general layered multi-secret sharing problem, which is shown to be equivalent to the degraded broadcast multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) channel with layered decoding and secrecy constraints. The secrecy capacity region for the degraded MIMO broadcast channel is characterized, which provides the secret sharing capacity region. Furthermore, these secure encoding schemes that achieve the secrecy capacity region provide an information theoretic scheme for sharing the secrets.

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