Do You Have My Data? Prove It! (Provable Data Possession at Untrusted Stores)

Reza Curtmola
Purdue University


Faced with cost and regulatory considerations, many companies are outsourcing the storage of their data to third parties. Outsourcing data storage achieves economies of scale for the management of storage and avoids the large initial investment to set up data centers. Recently, many such online archival systems have emerged from within the research and industrial communities. In storage oursourcing, a client sends data to a server, which is required by contract to provide persistent archival of the data. Since the server is not trusted and may misbehave, the client typically retains a small piece of metadata which is used to verify the authenticity of the data upon its retrieval. The problem is that by the time data is retrieved, it might be already too late to recover lost or damaged data. Current systems lack a basic guarantee: Proving data possession upon a user's request (usually before data retrieval). In this presentation we introduce a model for provable data posession (PDP) which allows a client that has stored data at an untrusted server to verify that the server possesses the original data. We present provably-secure PDP schemes that have low (or even constant) overhead at the server and and minimize network communication by transmitting a small, constant, amount of data for every challenge/response. The constructs use novel homomorphic verification tags, which allow checking data possession without retrieving the data from the server and without having the server access the entire data. This revolutionizes the ability of users to outsource large data sets by providing a previously-unattainable degree of performance and scalability in verifying the health of external data repositories.