Searchable symmetric encryption: Improved definitions and efficient constructions

Reza Curtmola, Juan Garay, Seny Kamara, Rafail Ostrovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

688 Scopus citations


Searchable symmetric encryption (SSE) allows a party to outsource the storage of his data to another party in a private manner, while maintaining the ability to selectively search over it. This problem has been the focus of active research and several security definitions and constructions have been proposed. In this paper we begin by reviewing existing notions of security and propose new and stronger security definitions. We then present two constructions that we show secure under our new definitions. Interestingly, in addition to satisfying stronger security guarantees, our constructions are more efficient than all previous constructions. Further, prior work on SSE only considered the setting where only the owner of the data is capable of submitting search queries. We consider the natural extension where an arbitrary group of parties other than the owner can submit search queries. We formally define SSE in this multi-user setting, and present an efficient construction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)895-934
Number of pages40
JournalJournal of Computer Security
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications


  • Searchable encryption
  • cloud storage
  • storage outsourcing


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