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Encryption method ensures data storage security, privacy

Posted: 19 Aug 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:data storage? cloud? privacy? encryption?

A team of researchers at the A*STAR Data Storage Institute in Singapore has developed a scheme that allows organisations to store data on the cloud without loss of privacy and also permits searching and sharing of the data. According to them, the system is able to preserve the benefit of the cloud's specialised low-cost storage infrastructure while overcoming its current privacy and flexibility limitations.

Shu Qin Ren and his colleague Khin Mi Mi Aung at the A*STAR DSI said that in their scheme, data stored on the cloud is encrypted by its owner and hence is indecipherable to anyone elseincluding the cloud storage provider. A secret key required to unlock the encryption is generated and kept by the owner, who also determines an access policy for other users. This policy is implemented by the key manager, who generates a second access key, which is then passed back to the owner. Next, the owner wraps the original encryption key in this second layer of protection. The key manager is then able to pass on the second 'public' key to authorised third parties to allow them to access the data.

Under traditional privacy schemes, the owner manages both the encryption of and access to their data. Sharing with a third party typically involves retrieval and decryption of the data by the owner and therefore some loss of privacy. Under Ren and Aung's schemeentitled Privacy Preserved Data Sharingthe third party only deals with the key manager and, after authorisation, receives the public key without interacting with the data's owner, thus allowing privacy to be maintained.

"The research team is now building a secure data searching and sharing prototype to test on structured data such as in databases," stated Ren. "The next step is to support unstructured data."

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