Enabling encrypted Boolean queries in geographically distributed databases

Xu Yuan, Xingliang Yuan, Yihe Zhang, Baochun Li, Cong Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The persistent growth of big data applications has being raising new challenges in managing large volumes of datasets with high scalability, confidentiality protection, and flexible types of search queries. In this paper, we propose a secure design to disassemble the private dataset with the aim to store them across geographically distributed servers while supporting secure multi-client Boolean queries. In this design, the data owner encrypts the private database with the searchable index attributes. The encrypted dataset will be disassembled and distributed evenly across multiple servers by leveraging the property of a distributed index framework. By constructing an encryption structure, generating search tokens, and enabling parallel query, we show how the proposed design performs the secure while efficient Boolean search. These queries are not only limited to those initiated by the data owner but also can be extended to support multiple authorized clients, where each client is allowed to access a necessary part of the private database. In this stage, we advocate a non-interactive authorization scheme where data owner is not required to stay online to process the query request. Moreover, the query operation can be executed in parallel, which significantly improves the search efficiency. We formally characterize the leakage profile, which allow us to follow the existing security analysis method to demonstrate that our system can guarantee data confidentiality and query privacy. To validate our protocol, we implement a system prototype and evaluate the efficiency of our construction. Through experimental results, we demonstrate the effectiveness of our protocol in terms of data outsourcing time and Boolean query time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)634-646
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • Boolean query
  • key-value stores
  • multi-client data access
  • Searchable symmetric encryption

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