Securing Cloud Data under Key Exposure

3/ Feb/ 2017
Ghassan Karame, Claudio Soriente, Krzysztov Lichota, Srdjan Capkun
Name of Conference: 
IEEE Transactions on Cloud Computing

This paper includes a partial acknowledgment of the TREDISEC project, since this paper relates to NEC’s contribution in WP4 of TREDISEC with respect to data confidentiality technologies.


Recent news reveal a powerful attacker which breaks data confidentiality by acquiring cryptographic keys, by means of coercion or backdoors in cryptographic software. Once the encryption key is exposed, the only viable measure to preserve data confidentiality is to limit the attacker’s access to the ciphertext. This may be achieved, for example, by spreading ciphertext blocks across servers in multiple administrative domains—thus assuming that the adversary cannot compromise all of them. Nevertheless, if data is encrypted with existing schemes, an adversary equipped with the encryption key, can still compromise a single server and decrypt the ciphertext blocks stored therein. In this paper, we study data confidentiality against an adversary which knows the encryption key and has access to a large fraction of the ciphertext blocks. To this end, we propose Bastion, a novel and efficient scheme that guarantees data confidentiality even if the encryption key is leaked and the adversary has access to almost all ciphertext blocks. We analyze the security of Bastion, and we evaluate its performance by means of a prototype implementation. We also discuss practical insights with respect to the integration of Bastion in commercial dispersed storage systems. Our evaluation results suggest that Bastion is well-suited for integration in existing systems since it incurs less than 5% overhead compared to existing semantically secure encryption modes.