Researchers Demonstrate New Side-Channel Attack on Homomorphic Encryption

It’s also meant to be privacy-preserving in that it allows sharing of sensitive data with other third-party services, such as data analytics firms, for further processing while the underlying information remains encrypted, and by extension, inaccessible to the service provider.

Put differently, the goal of homomorphic encryption is to facilitate the development of end-to-end encrypted data storage and computation services where the data owner never needs to share their secret keys with third-party services.

The data leakage attack proposed by the researchers involves a vulnerability discovered in Microsoft SEAL, the tech giant’s open-source implementation of the technology, which could be exploited in a manner that allows the recovery of a piece of plaintext message that’s being homomorphically encrypted, effectively undoing the privacy protections.

Specifically, the attack, dubbed RevEAL, “targets the Gaussian sampling in the SEAL’s encryption phase and can extract the entire message with a single power measurement,” by taking advantage of a “power-based side-channel leakage of Microsoft SEAL prior to v3.6 that implements the Brakerski/Fan-Vercauteren (BFV) protocol,” the researchers said. Read more:

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