Augmenting Encrypted Search : A Decentralized Service Realization with Enforced Execution

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2569-2581
Journal / PublicationIEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing
Issue number6
Online published2 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


Searchable symmetric encryption (SSE) allows the data owner to outsource an encrypted database to a remote server in a private manner while maintaining the ability for selectively search. So far, most existing solutions focus on an honest-butcurious server, while security designs against a malicious server have not drawn enough attention. A few recent works have attempted to construct verifiable SSE that enables the data owner to verify the integrity of search results. Nevertheless, these verification mechanisms are highly dependent on specific SSE schemes, and fail to support complex queries. A general verification mechanism is desired that can be applied to all SSE schemes. In this work, we explore the potential of the smart contract, an emerging blockchain-based decentralized technology, and construct decentralized SSE schemes where the data owner can receive correct search results with assurance without worrying about potential wrongdoings of a malicious server. We study both public and private blockchain environments and propose two designs with a trade-off between security and efficiency. The multi-user setting of SSE is further investigated where the data owner allows authenticated users to search keywords in shared documents. We implement prototypes of our two designs to demonstrate the practicability of our decentralized SSE scheme.

Research Area(s)

  • Searchable symmetric encryption, blockchain, decentralization

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