Paper 2010/079

From Dust to Dawn: Practically Efficient Two-Party Secure Function Evaluation Protocols and their Modular Design

Vladimir Kolesnikov, Ahmad-Reza Sadeghi, and Thomas Schneider


General two-party Secure Function Evaluation (SFE) allows mutually distrusting parties to (jointly) correctly compute \emph{any} function on their private input data, without revealing the inputs. SFE, properly designed, guarantees to satisfy the most stringent security requirements, even for interactive computation. Two-party SFE can benefit almost any client-server interaction where privacy is required, such as privacy-preserving credit checking, medical classification, or face recognition. Today, SFE is subject of an immense amount of research in a variety of directions, and is not easy to navigate. In this paper, we systematize the most \emph{practically important} work of the vast research knowledge on \emph{general} SFE. It turns out that the most efficient SFE protocols today are obtained by combining several basic techniques, such as garbled circuits and homomorphic encryption. We limit our detailed discussion to efficient general techniques. In particular, we do not discuss the details of currently \emph{practically inefficient} techniques, such as fully homomorphic encryption (although we elaborate on its practical relevance), nor do we cover \emph{specialized} techniques applicable only to small classes of functions. As an important practical contribution, we present a framework in which today's practically most efficient techniques for general SFE can be viewed as building blocks with well-defined interfaces that can be easily combined to establish a complete efficient solution. Further, our approach naturally lends itself to automated protocol generation (compilation). This is evidenced by the implementation of (parts of) our framework in the TASTY SFE compiler (introduced at ACM CCS 2010). In sum, our work is positioned as a comprehensive guide in state-of-the-art SFE, with the additional goal of extracting, systematizing and unifying the most relevant and promising general techniques from among the mass of SFE knowledge. We hope this guide would help developers of SFE libraries and privacy-preserving protocols in selecting the most efficient SFE components available today.

Note: Vladimir Kolesnikov, Ahmad-Reza Sadeghi, and Thomas Schneider. A systematic approach to practically efficient general two-party secure function evaluation protocols and their modular design. Journal of Computer Security (JCS), 21(2):283-315, 2013

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Publication info
Published elsewhere. An updated version of this article is published in the Journal of Computer Security (see note below)
frameworkprotocol designprivacy-preserving protocolshomomorphic encryptiongarbled functions
Contact author(s)
thomas schneider @ ec-spride de
2013-04-03: last of 6 revisions
2010-02-16: received
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      author = {Vladimir Kolesnikov and Ahmad-Reza Sadeghi and Thomas Schneider},
      title = {From Dust to Dawn: Practically Efficient Two-Party Secure Function Evaluation Protocols and their Modular Design},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2010/079},
      year = {2010},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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