Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2016/718

Leakage-Abuse Attacks Against Searchable Encryption

David Cash and Paul Grubbs and Jason Perry and Thomas Ristenpart

Abstract: Schemes for secure outsourcing of client data with search capability are being increasingly marketed and deployed. In the literature, schemes for accomplishing this efficiently are called Searchable Encryption (SE). They achieve high efficiency with provable security by means of a quantifiable leakage profile. However, the degree to which SE leakage can be exploited by an adversary is not well understood. To address this, we present a characterization of the leakage profiles of in-the-wild searchable encryption products and SE schemes in the literature, and present attack models based on an adversarial server’s prior knowledge. Then we empirically investigate the security of searchable encryption by providing query recovery and plaintext recovery attacks that exploit these leakage profiles. We term these 'leakage-abuse attacks' and demonstrate their effectiveness for varying leakage profiles and levels of server knowledge, for realistic scenarios. Amongst our contributions are realistic active attacks which have not been previously explored.

Category / Keywords: Searchable encryption; leakage

Original Publication (with major differences): ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS) 2015

Date: received 19 Jul 2016, last revised 5 Sep 2019

Contact author: pag225 at cornell edu

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Note: This version corrects some inconsistencies and errors in the previous version of the paper. See the final paragraph of the introduction for a full explanation of the changes.

2019-09-05 revision: typo fixes

Version: 20190905:110156 (All versions of this report)

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