The circle game: Scalable private membership test using trusted hardware

Sandeep Tamrakar, Jian Liu, Andrew Paverd, Jan-Erik Ekberg, Benny Pinkas, N. Asokan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Malware checking is changing from being a local service to a cloudassisted one where users' devices query a cloud server, which hosts a dictionary of malware signatures, to check if particular applications are potentially malware. Whilst such an architecture gains all the benefits of cloud-based services, it opens up a major privacy concern since the cloud service can infer personal traits of the users based on the lists of applications queried by their devices. Private membership test (PMT) schemes can remove this privacy concern. However, known PMT schemes do not scale well to a large number of simultaneous users and high query arrival rates. We propose a simple PMT approach using a carousel: circling the entire dictionary through trusted hardware on the cloud server. Users communicate with the trusted hardware via secure channels. We show how the carousel approach, using different data structures to represent the dictionary, can be realized on two different commercial hardware security architectures (ARM TrustZone and Intel SGX).We highlight subtle aspects of securely implementing seemingly simple PMT schemes on these architectures. Through extensive experimental analysis, we show that for the malware checking scenario our carousel approach surprisingly outperforms Path ORAM on the same hardware by supporting a much higher query arrival rate while guaranteeing acceptable response latency for individual queries.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationASIA CCS 2017 - Proceedings of the 2017 ACM Asia Conference on Computer and Communications Security
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781450349444
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2017
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventACM Symposium on Information, Computer and Communications Security - Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Duration: 2 Apr 20176 Apr 2017


ConferenceACM Symposium on Information, Computer and Communications Security
Abbreviated titleASIACCS
Country/TerritoryUnited Arab Emirates
CityAbu Dhabi


  • ARM trust zone
  • Intel SGX
  • Malware checking
  • Privacy


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