Paper 2012/611

A coding theory foundation for the analysis of general unconditionally secure proof-of-retrievability schemes for cloud storage

Maura B. Paterson, Douglas R. Stinson, and Jalaj Upadhyay


There has been considerable recent interest in "cloud storage'' wherein a user asks a server to store a large file. One issue is whether the user can verify that the server is actually storing the file, and typically a challenge-response protocol is employed to convince the user that the file is indeed being stored correctly. The security of these schemes is phrased in terms of an extractor which will recover or retrieve the file given any "proving algorithm'' that has a sufficiently high success probability. This paper treats proof-of-retrievability schemes in the model of unconditional security, where an adversary has unlimited computational power. In this case retrievability of the file can be modelled as error-correction in a certain code. We provide a general analytical framework for such schemes that yields exact (non-asymptotic) reductions that precisely quantify conditions for extraction to succeed as a function of the success probability of a proving algorithm, and we apply this analysis to several archetypal schemes. In addition, we provide a new methodology for the analysis of keyed POR schemes in an unconditionally secure setting, and use it to prove the security of a modified version of a scheme due to Shacham and Waters under a slightly restricted attack model, thus providing the first example of a keyed POR scheme with unconditional security. We also show how classical statistical techniques can be used to evaluate whether the responses of the prover are accurate enough to permit successful extraction. Finally, we prove a new lower bound on storage and communication complexity of POR schemes.

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Publication info
Published elsewhere. submitted for publication in a journal
information theory
Contact author(s)
dstinson @ uwaterloo ca
2012-11-01: received
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      author = {Maura B.  Paterson and Douglas R.  Stinson and Jalaj Upadhyay},
      title = {A coding theory foundation for the analysis of general  unconditionally secure  proof-of-retrievability schemes for cloud storage},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2012/611},
      year = {2012},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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