Token-Based Cloud Computing -- Secure Outsourcing of Data and Arbitrary Computations with Lower Latency

Ahmad-Reza Sadeghi, Thomas Schneider, Marcel Winandy

3rd International Conference on Trust and Trustworthy Computing (TRUST'10) - Workshop on Trust in the Cloud, June 22, Berlin, Germany.


Secure outsourcing of computation to an untrusted (cloud) service provider is becoming more and more important. Pure cryptographic solutions based on fully homomorphic and verifiable encryption, recently proposed, are promising but suffer from very high latency. Other proposals perform the whole computation on tamper-proof hardware and usually suffer from the the same problem. Trusted computing (TC) is another promising approach that uses trusted software and hardware components on computing platforms to provide useful mechanisms such as attestation allowing the data owner to verify the integrity of the cloud and its computation. However, on the one hand these solutions require trust in hardware (CPU, trusted computing modules) that are under the physical control of the cloud provider, and on the other hand they still have to face the challenge of run-time attestation.

In this paper we focus on applications where the latency of the computation should be minimized, i.e., the time from submitting the query until receiving the outcome of the computation should be as small as possible. To achieve this we show how to combine a trusted hardware token (e.g., a cryptographic coprocessor or provided by the customer) with Secure Function Evaluation (SFE) to compute arbitrary functions on secret (encrypted) data where the computation leaks no information and is verifiable. The token is used in the setup phase only whereas in the time-critical online phase the cloud computes the encrypted function on encrypted data using symmetric encryption primitives only and without any interaction with other entities.

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tags: Cloud, computing