Dhinakaran Vinayagamurthy, PhD candidate
David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science
Computing infrastructures are challenging and expensive to maintain. This led to the growth of cloud computing with users renting computing resources from centralized cloud providers. There is also a recent promise in providing decentralized computing resources from many participating users across the world. The compute on your own server model hence is no longer prominent. But, traditional computer architectures, which were designed to give a complete power to the owner of the computing infrastructure, continue to be used in deploying these new paradigms. This forces users to completely trust the infrastructure provider on all their data. The cryptography and security community research two different ways to tackle this problem. The first line of research involves developing powerful cryptographic constructs with formal security guarantees. The primitive of functional encryption (FE) formalizes the solutions where the clients do not interact with the sever during the computation. FE enables a user to provide computation-specific secret keys which the server can use to perform the user specialized computations (and only those) on her encrypted data. The second line of research involves designing new hardware architectures which remove the infrastructure owner from the trust base. The solutions here tend to have better performance but their security guarantees are not well understood. This thesis provides contributions along both lines of research.
In particular, we develop a (single-key) functional encryption construction where the size of secret keys do not grow with the size of descriptions of the computations, while also providing a tighter security reduction to the underlying computational assumption. This construction supports the computation class of branching programs. Previous works for this computation class achieved either short keys or tighter security reductions but not both.
We formally model the primitive of trusted hardware inspired by Intel’s Software Guard eXtensions (SGX). We then construct an FE scheme in a strong security model using this trusted hardware primitive. We implement this construction in our system Iron and evaluate its performance. Previously, the constructions in this model relied on heavy cryptographic tools and were not practical.
We design an encrypted database system StealthDB that provides a complete SQL support. StealthDB is built on top of Intel SGX and designed with the usability and security limitations of SGX in mind. The StealthDB implementation on top of Postgres achieves practical performance (30% overhead over plaintext evaluation) with strong leakage profile against adversaries who get snapshot access to the memory of the system. It achieves a more gradual degradation in security against persistent adversaries than the prior designs that aimed at practical performance and complete SQL support.
We finally survey the research on providing security against quantum adversaries to the building blocks of SGX.
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