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F*/Low* implementation of QUIC header and packet protection, verified for memory safety, functional correctness and constant-time execution, and compiled to C.

How to verify, extract and build

EverQuic is implemented in F* in src/, and extracted to C in dist/EverQuic.c and dist/EverQuic.h. Then, to build the EverQuic static library, dist/libeverquic.a:

  1. Clone KaRaMeL from and point the KRML_HOME environment variable to the KaRaMeL clone directory.

  2. In EverQuic, do cd dist && make -f Makefile.basic

If dist/EverQuic.c and dist/EverQuic.h are not present, then you will need to regenerate them by verifying the F* code and extracting the C code as follows (Ubuntu 18.04 and 20.04 are known to work):

  1. Install Project Everest (which includes F*) by running: ./ && source

    You can set the EVEREST_THREADS environment variable to set some parallelism factor.

    You may need to install Mono, OCaml (>= 4.05, < 4.10) and OPAM beforehand.

    Alternatively, if you do not want to make changes to your machine, you can build a Docker image using the provided Dockerfile, and work from within a container: docker build -t everquic-crypto . && docker run -i -t everquic-crypto You can set the EVEREST_THREADS build-arg to set some parallelism factor.

  2. Run make to verify the proofs, extract the C code and build and run the test.

    Then, C files are produced in dist/.

Prelude: F* and formal guarantees

F* effects: memory-safety, type-safety and functional correctness

We are using three classes of F* effects:

  • Stateful computations (ST/Stack): concrete values and functions with side effects (memory accesses), compiled to C

  • Pure computations (Tot/Pure): concrete values and functions without side effects, compiled to C

  • Ghost computations (GTot/Ghost): values and functions for proof purposes only, erased from the C code

In our code, we adopt the convention that QUIC.Spec.* modules define specifications as ghost computations, whereas QUIC.Impl.* modules define their corresponding pure or stateful implementations.

F* type-checking ensures both memory-safety and type-safety. In addition, the types of the QUIC.Impl.* implementations, as Hoare-style pre- and postconditions, mention the specifications in QUIC.Spec.* to ensure functional correctness.

Constant-time execution

Our constant-time execution guarantees rely on data abstraction: more precisely, for constant-time data we rely on abstract "secret" integer types from HACL* (

Data abstraction: F* modules and interfaces

In F*, module definitions (.fst) may be hidden behind a corresponding interface (.fsti), thus making their definitions abstract. There, the .fsti contains the signatures of the functions implemented (and the statements of the theorems proven) in the .fst that are meant to be directly callable by client code.

Reading the actual value of a secret integer can be done only in ghost computations, unless by explicit (unsafe) declassification using HACL* Lib.RawIntTypes. Thus, by virtue of being ghost, our specifications in QUIC.Spec.* safely "read" secret integer values for proof purposes only, whereas our implementations in QUIC.Impl.* respect type abstractions.

A module definition B.fst can break the abstractions of module A by declaring friend A. For proof efficiency purposes, we split our code in such a way that QUIC.Impl.Foo only needs to expose the definitions from QUIC.Spec.Foo. However, we are careful not to use friend in our code for secret data types.

Operations on secret data

QUIC.Secret.Int defines constant-time operations on secret integers, including comparisons (whose results are secret, in such a way that one cannot branch on them with if).

QUIC.Secret.Seq defines operations on sequences of secret data.

QUIC.Secret.Buffer defines an abstraction construct for a code block to use a buffer (F*/Low* representation of a C array) of public integers as a buffer of secret integers (but not the converse).


Packet format


The packet header format is split into two parts: the public part, and the packet number. The parser and formatter specifications and implementations use EverParse.

  • The C data type for QUIC packet headers is defined in QUIC.Impl.Header.Base as type header, and extracted as the EverQuic_header type definition in dist/EverQuic.h.

  • the format of the public part of the header, where the protected bits of the first byte are uninterpreted, is defined in QUIC.Spec.Header.Public. Corresponding parsers and formatters are implemented in QUIC.Impl.Header.Public.

  • the packet number format is defined in QUIC.Spec.PacketNumber and its parser and formatter implemented in QUIC.Impl.PacketNumber. Most notably, QUIC.Spec.PacketNumber.expand_pn' specifies packet number expansion, which is implemented in QUIC.Impl.Packet_number.expand_pn_aux in a constant-time way. The latter function is extracted as expand_pn in dist/EverQuic.c.

  • the format of the header, with the packet number, and the interpreted protected bits, is defined in QUIC.Spec.Header.Parse, and its parser and formatter are implemented in QUIC.Impl.Header.Parse. The parser is implemented as QUIC.Impl.Header.read_header, extracted as read_header0 in dist/EverQuic.c; the formatter is implemented as QUIC.Impl.Header.write_header, extracted as write_header0 in dist/EverQuic.c.

Header and packet protection


Header protection, i.e. applying or removing protection on the packet number field and the protected bits of the first byte of the packet, is defined in QUIC.Spec.Header, and implemented in QUIC.Impl.Header, as header_encrypt to apply protection and header_decrypt to remove protection. They are extracted under these names in dist/EverQuic.c.

Header and packet protection, i.e. header protection plus encryption/decryption of the packet payload, is defined in QUIC.Spec and implemented in QUIC.Impl, using EverCrypt AEAD, as encrypt to apply protection and decrypt to remove protection. They are extracted under these names in dist/EverQuic.c.

QUIC transport state

In QUIC.State, we define a transport state type, state_s, that holds the AEAD state and the number of the last packet sent or received. This state, extracted as EverQuic_state_s in dist/EverQuic.h, is wrapped around header and packet protection. There, create_in allocates and creates a state, encrypt applies protection and decrypt removes protection. Those functions are extracted as EverQuic_create_in, EverQuic_encrypt and EverQuic_decrypt respectively, in dist/EverQuic.h and dist/EverQuic.c.

Security proof

Model.AEAD and Model.PNE are the two code-based assumptions, and are used to implement the idealized NHSE implementation of QUIC packet encryption in Model.QUIC. The low-level implementation and model are connected by the implementation switch in the QUIC module, using the shared functional specification in QUIC.Spec.


Security model and verified implementation of QUIC packet encryption in Low*, built over EverCrypt and EverParse.







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