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Your proof certainly has to work even if the adversary doesn't use the random oracle. One technique that you can try is to begin by proving a separate lemma that if the adversary doesn't ask a certain query first, then it definitely cannot succeed in distinguishing. Then, you proceed to prove the simulation conditioned on it asking this query. However, if ...


As you say, CCA proofs are actually reductions to underlying problems. In all CCA proofs that I can think of at the moment, the underlying problem is a weaker security notion for an "embedded" encryption scheme - e.g. Cramer-Shoup and friends use IND-CPA of ElGamal and Fujisaki-Okamoto uses OWE of the contained scheme. The general proof strategy is to take ...

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