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Dynamic searchable symmetric encryption for storing geospatial data in the cloud

: Hiemenz, Benedikt; Krämer, Michel


International journal of information security 18 (2019), Nr.3, S.333-354
ISSN: 1615-5262
ISSN: 1615-5270
Fraunhofer IGD ()
Guiding Theme: Visual Computing as a Service; Research Area: Modeling (MOD); cryptography; information retrieval; geographic information systems (GIS); Cloud Computing

We present a dynamic searchable symmetric encryption scheme allowing users to securely store geospatial data in the cloud. Geospatial data sets often contain sensitive information, for example, about urban infrastructures. Since clouds are usually provided by third parties, these data need to be protected. Our approach allows users to encrypt their data in the cloud and make them searchable at the same time. It does not require an initialization phase, which enables users to dynamically add new data and remove existing records. We design multiple protocols differing in their level of security and performance, respectively. All of them support queries containing boolean expressions, as well as geospatial queries based on bounding boxes, for example. Our findings indicate that although the search in encrypted data requires more runtime than in unencrypted data, our approach is still suitable for real-world applications. We focus on geospatial data storage, but our approach can also be applied to applications from other areas dealing with keyword-based searches in encrypted data. We conclude the paper with a discussion on the benefits and drawbacks of our approach.