A Privacy Leakage Upper Bound Constraint-Based Approach for Cost-Effective Privacy Preserving of Intermediate Data Sets in Cloud

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A Privacy Leakage Upper Bound Constraint-Based Approach for Cost-Effective Privacy Preserving of Intermediate Data Sets in Cloud


Cloud computing provides massive computation power and storage capacity which enable users to deploy computation and data-intensive applications without infrastructure investment. Along the processing of such applications, a large volume of intermediate data sets will be generated, and often stored to save the cost of recomputing them. However, preserving the privacy of intermediate data sets becomes a challenging problem because adversaries may recover privacy-sensitive information by analyzing multiple intermediate data sets. Encrypting ALL data sets in cloud is widely adopted in existing approaches to address this challenge. But we argue that encrypting all intermediate data sets are neither efficient nor cost-effective because it is very time consuming and costly for data-intensive applications to en/decrypt data sets frequently while performing any operation on them. In this paper, we propose a novel upper bound privacy leakage constraint-based approach to identify which intermediate data sets need to be encrypted and which do not, so that privacy-preserving cost can be saved while the privacy requirements of data holders can still be satisfied. Evaluation results demonstrate that the privacy-preserving cost of intermediate data sets can be significantly reduced with our approach over existing ones where all data sets are encrypted.




The privacy concerns caused by retaining intermediate data sets in cloud are important but they are paid little attention. Storage and computation services in cloud are equivalent from an economical perspective because they are charged in proportion to their usage. Thus, cloud users can store valuable intermediate data sets selectively when processing original data sets in data intensive applications like medical diagnosis, in order to curtail the overall expenses by avoiding frequent recomputation to obtain these data sets. Such scenarios are quite common because data users often reanalyze results, conduct new analysis on intermediate data sets, or share some intermediate results with others for collaboration. Without loss of generality, the notion of intermediate data set herein refers to intermediate and resultant data sets.

However, the storage of intermediate data enlarges attack surfaces so that privacy requirements of data holders are at risk of being violated. Usually, intermediate data sets in cloud are accessed and processed by multiple parties, but rarely controlled by original data set holders. This enables an adversary to collect intermediate data sets together and menace privacy-sensitive information from them, bringing considerable economic loss or severe social reputation impairment to data owners. But, little attention has been paid to such a cloud-specific privacy issue.


Existing technical approaches for preserving the privacy of data sets stored in cloud mainly include encryption and anonymization. On one hand, encrypting all data sets, a straightforward and effective approach, is widely adopted in current research.

However, processing on encrypted data sets efficiently is quite a challenging task, because most existing applications only run on unencrypted data sets. Although recent progress has been made in homomorphic encryption which theoretically allows performing computation on encrypted data sets, applying current algorithms are rather expensive due to their inefficiency On the other hand, partial information of data sets, e.g., aggregate information, is required to expose to data users in most cloud applications like data mining and analytics. In such cases, data sets are Anonymized rather than encrypted to ensure both data utility and privacy preserving. Current privacy-preserving techniques like generalization can withstand most privacy attacks on one single data set, while preserving privacy for multiple data sets is still a challenging problem


Encrypting all intermediate data sets will lead to high overhead and low efficiency when they are frequently accessed or processed. As such, we propose to encrypt part of intermediate data sets rather than all for reducing privacy-preserving cost.

In this paper, we propose a novel approach to identify which intermediate data sets need to be encrypted while others do not, in order to satisfy privacy requirements given by data holders. A tree structure is modeled from generation relationships of intermediate data sets to analyze privacy propagation of data sets.


As quantifying joint privacy leakage of multiple data sets efficiently is challenging, we exploit an upper bound constraint to confine privacy disclosure. Based on such a constraint, we model the problem of saving privacy-preserving cost as a constrained optimization problem. This problem is then divided into a series of sub-problems by decomposing privacy leakage constraints. Finally, we design a practical heuristic algorithm accordingly to identify the data sets that need to be encrypted.


The major contributions of our research are threefold.

üFirst, we formally demonstrate the possibility of ensuring privacy leakage requirements without encrypting all intermediate data sets when encryption is incorporated with anonymization to preserve privacy.

üSecond, we design a practical heuristic algorithm to identify which data sets need to be encrypted for preserving privacy while the rest of them do not.

üThird, experiment results demonstrate that our approach can significantly reduce privacy-preserving cost over existing approaches, which is quite beneficial for the cloud users who utilize cloud services in a pay-as-you-go fashion.



Algorithm 1: Privacy-Preserving Cost Reducing Heuristic




         System                 : Pentium IV 2.4 GHz.

         Hard Disk            : 40 GB.

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         Coding Language:  ASP.NET, C#.Net.

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Xuyun Zhang, Chang Liu, Surya Nepal, Suraj Pandey, and Jinjun Chen, “A Privacy Leakage Upper Bound Constraint-Based Approach for Cost-Effective Privacy Preserving of Intermediate Data Sets in Cloud”, IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON PARALLEL AND DISTRIBUTED SYSTEMS, VOL. 24, NO. 6, JUNE 2013.

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