Paper 2017/133

Composable and Robust Outsourced Storage

Christian Badertscher and Ueli Maurer


The security of data outsourcing mechanisms has become a crucial aspect of today's IT infrastructures and are the cryptographic foundations of real-world applications. The very fundamental goals are ensuring storage integrity and auditability, confidentiality, and access pattern hiding, as well as combinations of all of them. Despite sharing a common setting, security analyses of these tasks are often performed in a stand-alone fashion expressed in different models, which makes it hard to assess the overall security of a protocol or application involving several security schemes at once. In this work, we fill this gap and propose a composable framework suitable to capture various aspects of outsourced storage security and its applications. We instantiate the basic client-server setting in this model, where the goal of the honest client is to retain security in the presence of a malicious server. Three specific contributions of this paper are: 1.) We present a novel definition for secure and robust outsourcing schemes and underline why this is needed in practice. Our definition is stronger than previous definitions for oblivious RAM or software protection in that it assures strong security guarantees against active attacks. Schemes meeting the definition not only assure that an attacker cannot learn the access pattern, but guarantee resilience to errors and the prevention of targeted attacks to specific locations. Unfortunately, several existing schemes cannot achieve this high level of security. For completeness, we provide a protocol based on Path ORAM that showcases that stronger security is actually achievable. 2.) We present a novel definition for auditable storage, capturing the guarantee that a successful audit implies that the current server state allows the client to retrieve his data. We develop an audit mechanism, based on secure and robust outsourcing schemes, that is similar to the construction by Cash et al. (Eurocrpyt 2013), but is universally composable and fault-tolerant. 3.) We revisit the security claim of a widely-used challenge-response audit mechanism, in which the server has to compute a hash $H(F||c)$ on the file $F$ concatenated with a uniformly random challenge $c$ chosen by the client. Being concerned with composable security, we prove that this audit mechanism is not secure, even in the random oracle model, without additional assumptions. The composable security of this basic audit scheme was implicitly assumed in Ristenpart et al. (Eurocrypt 2011). To complete the picture, we state the additional assumptions for this audit mechanism to be provably secure and investigate the (in)applicability of hash-function constructions in this setting.

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Published elsewhere. Major revision. CT-RSA 2018
cryptographic protocols
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christian badertscher @ inf ethz ch
2018-09-28: last of 4 revisions
2017-02-16: received
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      author = {Christian Badertscher and Ueli Maurer},
      title = {Composable and Robust Outsourced Storage},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2017/133},
      year = {2017},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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