Paper 2015/979

Guidelines for Using the CryptDB System Securely

Raluca Ada Popa, Nickolai Zeldovich, and Hari Balakrishnan


This report has two goals. First, we review guidelines for using the CryptDB system [PRZB11, Pop14] securely by the administrators of database applications. These guidelines were already described in [PRZB11] and elaborated on in [Pop14], but in light of some recent work [NKW15] that applied these guidelines incorrectly, a short document devoted to summarizing these guidelines may be useful. Second, we explain that the study of Naveed, Kamara, and Wright [NKW15] represents an unsafe usage of CryptDB, violating CryptDB’s security guidelines. Hence, the conclusions drawn in that paper regarding CryptDB’s guarantees for medical applications are incorrect: had the guidelines been followed, none of the claimed attacks would have been possible.

Available format(s)
Cryptographic protocols
Publication info
Preprint. MINOR revision.
Contact author(s)
raluca popa @ berkeley edu
2015-10-16: last of 2 revisions
2015-10-12: received
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Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Raluca Ada Popa and Nickolai Zeldovich and Hari Balakrishnan},
      title = {Guidelines for Using the {CryptDB} System Securely},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2015/979},
      year = {2015},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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