Privacy-aware relevant data access with semantically enriched search queries for untrusted cloud storage services

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© 2016 Pervez et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Privacy-aware search of outsourced data ensures relevant data access in the untrusted domain of a public cloud service provider. Subscriber of a public cloud storage service can determine the presence or absence of a particular keyword by submitting search query in the form of a trapdoor. However, these trapdoor-based search queries are limited in functionality and cannot be used to identify secure outsourced data which contains semantically equivalent information. In addition, trapdoor-based methodologies are confined to predefined trapdoors and prevent subscribers from searching outsourced data with arbitrarily defined search criteria. To solve the problem of relevant data access, we have proposed an index-based privacy-aware search methodology that ensures semantic retrieval of data from an untrusted domain. This method ensures oblivious execution of a search query and leverages authorized subscribers to model conjunctive search queries without relying on predefined trapdoors. A security analysis of our proposed methodology shows that, in a conspired attack, unauthorized subscribers and untrusted cloud service providers cannot deduce any information that can lead to the potential loss of data privacy. A computational time analysis on commodity hardware demonstrates that our proposed methodology requires moderate computational resources to model a privacy-aware search query and for its oblivious evaluation on a cloud service provider.

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