Distributed searchable symmetric encryption

Christoph Bösch*, Andreas Peter, Bram Leenders, Hoon Wei Lim, Qiang Tang, Huaxiong Wang, Pieter Hartel, Willem Jonker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Searchable Symmetric Encryption (SSE) allows a client to store encrypted data on a storage provider in such a way, that the client is able to search and retrieve the data selectively without the storage provider learning the contents of the data or the words being searched for. Practical SSE schemes usually leak (sensitive) information during or after a query (e.g., the search pattern). Secure schemes on the other hand are not practical, namely they are neither efficient in the computational search complexity, nor scalable with large data sets. To achieve efficiency and security at the same time, we introduce the concept of distributed SSE (DSSE), which uses a query proxy in addition to the storage provider. We give a construction that combines an inverted index approach (for efficiency) with scrambling functions used in private information retrieval (PIR) (for security). The proposed scheme, which is entirely based on XOR operations and pseudo-random functions, is efficient and does not leak the search pattern. For instance, a secure search in an index over one million documents and 500 keywords is executed in less than 1 second.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2014 Twelfth Annual Conference on Privacy, Security and Trust
EditorsAli Miri, Urs Hengartner, Nen-Fu Huang, Audun Jøsang, Joaquin Garcia-Alfaro
Place of PublicationPiscataway, NJ
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781479935031
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event2014 12th Annual Conference on Privacy, Security and Trust, PST 2014 - Toronto, Canada
Duration: 23 Jul 201424 Jul 2014

Publication series

NameAnnual Conference on Privacy Security and Trust-PST
ISSN (Print)1712-364X


Other2014 12th Annual Conference on Privacy, Security and Trust, PST 2014


  • Practical Efficiency
  • Search Pattern Hiding
  • Searchable Encryption
  • Semi-Honest Model


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