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Publication# Bayes Security: A Not So Average Metric

Abstract

Security system designers favor worst-case security metrics, such as those derived from differential privacy (DP), due to the strong guarantees they provide. On the downside, these guarantees result in a high penalty on the system's performance. In this paper, we study Bayes security, a security metric inspired by the cryptographic advantage. Similarly to DP, Bayes security i) is independent of an adversary's prior knowledge, ii) it captures the worst-case scenario for the two most vulnerable secrets (e.g., data records); and iii) it is easy to compose, facilitating security analyses. Additionally, Bayes security iv) can be consistently estimated in a black-box manner, contrary to DP, which is useful when a formal analysis is not feasible; and v) provides a better utility-security trade-off in high-security regimes because it quantifies the risk for a specific threat model as opposed to threat-agnostic metrics such as DP. We formulate a theory around Bayes security, and we provide a thorough comparison with respect to well-known metrics, identifying the scenarios where Bayes Security is advantageous for designers.

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In logic, a quantifier is an operator that specifies how many individuals in the domain of discourse satisfy an open formula. For instance, the universal quantifier in the first order formula expresses that everything in the domain satisfies the property denoted by . On the other hand, the existential quantifier in the formula expresses that there exists something in the domain which satisfies that property. A formula where a quantifier takes widest scope is called a quantified formula.

Risk

In simple terms, risk is the possibility of something bad happening. Risk involves uncertainty about the effects/implications of an activity with respect to something that humans value (such as health, well-being, wealth, property or the environment), often focusing on negative, undesirable consequences. Many different definitions have been proposed. The international standard definition of risk for common understanding in different applications is "effect of uncertainty on objectives".

Branching quantifier

In logic a branching quantifier, also called a Henkin quantifier, finite partially ordered quantifier or even nonlinear quantifier, is a partial ordering of quantifiers for Q ∈ {∀,∃}. It is a special case of generalized quantifier. In classical logic, quantifier prefixes are linearly ordered such that the value of a variable ym bound by a quantifier Qm depends on the value of the variables y1, ..., ym−1 bound by quantifiers Qy1, ..., Qym−1 preceding Qm. In a logic with (finite) partially ordered quantification this is not in general the case.

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2024