Paper 2006/210

Searchable Symmetric Encryption: Improved Definitions and Efficient Constructions

Reza Curtmola, Juan Garay, Seny Kamara, and Rafail Ostrovsky


Searchable symmetric encryption (SSE) allows a party to outsource the storage of his data to another party in a private manner, while maintaining the ability to selectively search over it. This problem has been the focus of active research and several security definitions and constructions have been proposed. In this paper we begin by reviewing existing notions of security and propose new and stronger security definitions. We then present two constructions that we show secure under our new definitions. Interestingly, in addition to satisfying stronger security guarantees, our constructions are more efficient than all previous constructions. Further, prior work on SSE only considered the setting where only the owner of the data is capable of submitting search queries. We consider the natural extension where an arbitrary group of parties other than the owner can submit search queries. We formally define SSE in this multi-user setting, and present an efficient construction.

Available format(s)
Secret-key cryptography
Publication info
Published elsewhere. A preliminary version of this work appeared at CCS '06. This is the full version.
searchable encryption
Contact author(s)
senyk @ microsoft com
2011-04-20: last of 2 revisions
2006-06-26: received
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Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Reza Curtmola and Juan Garay and Seny Kamara and Rafail Ostrovsky},
      title = {Searchable Symmetric Encryption: Improved Definitions and Efficient Constructions},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2006/210},
      year = {2006},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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