In cryptography, the Fiat–Shamir heuristic is a technique for taking an interactive proof of knowledge and creating a digital signature based on it. This way, some fact (for example, knowledge of a certain secret number) can be publicly proven without revealing underlying information. The technique is due to Amos Fiat and Adi Shamir (1986). For the method to work, the original interactive proof must have the property of being public-coin, i.e. verifier's random coins are made public throughout the proof protocol.
The heuristic was originally presented without a proof of security; later, Pointcheval and Stern proved its security against chosen message attacks in the random oracle model, that is, assuming random oracles exist. This result was generalized to the quantum-accessible random oracle (QROM) by Don, Fehr, Majenz and Schaffner, and concurrently by Liu and Zhandry. In the case that random oracles do not exist, the Fiat–Shamir heuristic has been proven insecure by Shafi Goldwasser and Yael Tauman Kalai. The Fiat–Shamir heuristic thus demonstrates a major application of random oracles. More generally, the Fiat–Shamir heuristic may also be viewed as converting a public-coin interactive proof of knowledge into a non-interactive proof of knowledge. If the interactive proof is used as an identification tool, then the non-interactive version can be used directly as a digital signature by using the message as part of the input to the random oracle.
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