Using Byzantine Quorum Systems to Manage Confidential Data

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Subbiah, Arun
Ahamad, Mustaque
Blough, Douglas M.
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This paper addresses the problem of using proactive cryptosystems for generic data storage and retrieval. Proactive cryptosystems provide high security and confidentiality guarantees for stored data, and are capable of withstanding attacks that may compromise all the servers in the system over time. However, proactive cryptosystems are unsuitable for generic data storage uses for two reasons. First, proactive cryptosystems are usually used to store keys, which are rarely updated. On the other hand, generic data could be actively written and read. The system must therefore be highly available for both write and read operations. Second, existing share renewal protocols (the critical element to achieve proactive security) are expensive in terms of computation and communication overheads, and are time consuming operations. Since generic data will be voluminous, the share renewal process will consume substantial system resources and cause a significant amount of system downtime. Two schemes are proposed that combine Byzantine quorum systems and proactive secret sharing techniques to provide high availability and security guarantees for stored data, while reducing the overhead incurred during the share renewal process. Several performance metrics that can be used to evaluate proactively-secure generic data storage schemes are identified. The proposed schemes are thus shown to render proactive systems suitable for confidential generic data storage.
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