Enabling Reliable Keyword Search in Encrypted Decentralized Storage with Fairness

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

12 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-144
Journal / PublicationIEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing
Issue number1
Online published22 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


Blockchain has led the trend of decentralized applications and shown great use beyond cryptocurrencies. Decentralized storage such as Storj and Sia leverages blockchain to establish an open platform for sharing economy, which provides private and reliable file-outsourcing services. However, the ubiquitous keyword search function over encrypted files is yet to be supported. To enable this function, we first apply searchable encryption techniques to the decentralized setting. But this primitive can hardly ensure the service integrity. The reason is that decentralized storage commonly faces severe threats from both clients and service peers. Service peers may return partial or incorrect results, while clients may intentionally slander the service peers to avoid payments. To address these threats, we utilize the smart contract to record the logs of encrypted search (aka evidence) on the blockchain, and devise a fair protocol to handle disputes and issue fair payments. Using a dynamic-efficient searchable encryption scheme as an instantiation, we craft a concrete scheme that preserves encrypted search capability and enforces ecosystem healthiness, so that service peers are incentivized to make real efforts and jointly guarantee service reliability. We implement our scheme in Python and Solidity, and test its search performance and transaction costs on Ethereum.

Research Area(s)

  • Blockchain, Decentralized storage, Encrypted search, Financial fairness