Augmenting Encrypted Search: A Decentralized Service Realization with Enforced Execution

by   Shengshan Hu, et al.

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-but-curious 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, instead of concentrating on a central server, 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. To better support practical applications, 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 and present experiments and evaluations to demonstrate the practicability of our decentralized SSE schemes.


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