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Leakage-Abuse Attacks Against Searchable Encryption

Leakage-Abuse Attacks Against Searchable Encryption

Author Name: 

David Cash, Paul Grubbs, Jason Perry, Thomas Ristenpart

Publication Type: 
Conference Publications
CCS 2015
Publication Date: 
October, 2015

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.