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Encyclopedia > Traitor tracing

Traitor tracing is a copy prevention strategy which has been around for years. The main concept is that each licensee (the user) is given an unique key which unlocks the software or allows the media to be decrypted. Copy prevention, also known as copy protection, is any technical measure designed to prevent duplication of information. ...


If the key is made public, the content owner then knows exactly who did it from his database of assigned codes.


Most software uses some form of this strategy in things such as CD keys and serial numbers but it is not true traitor tracing unless the user's details are also recorded with the key. This does raise privacy concerns in some areas.


The major attack on such a scheme is the key generator (keygen). By reverse engineering the software, the code use to recognise a valid key can be characterised and then a program to spit out valid keys on command can be made.


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Publications of Aggelos Kiayias (4921 words)
In contrast, if such tracing is implemented by a state of the art group signature system, such wide opening of all signatures of a single user is a (centralized) operation that requires the opening of all anonymous signatures and revealing the users associated with them, an act that violates the privacy of all users.
A traitor tracing procedure allows the system-manager to reveal the identities of the subscribers that were implicated in the construction of a pirate-device that illegally receives the digital content (called traitors).
In an important variant called asymmetric traitor tracing, the system-manager is not necessarily trusted, thus the tracing procedure must produce undeniable proof of the implication of the traitor subscribers.
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