Expected impact

Secure computation and secure computation services for the cloud have a potential of being a disruptive technology that will change the economics of technology development and deployment. The ability to provide cryptographic and more general secure computation services in the cloud, combined with the tools and applications that are adapted for using this secure computation framework, can bring forth new economic and technological opportunities for Europe, and new efficiencies from which multiple sectors of industry in Europe will benefit. A few improvements that could follow the development and deployment of PRACTICE technologies are listed below.

  • Harmonization of regulatory, organizational, and user requirements for data access will become possible because of the unifying and verifiable framework that is provided as a set of security services. Such requirements will also be easier to formulate because it will not be necessary to adapt them to each application and each environment. Harmonized requirements greatly improve the economics of providing services.
  • Organizations will have access to much more information about their business environment than ever before and will be able to make better decisions to drive their work forward. This will be possible without violating anyone’s privacy.
  • Secure computation services can increase the openness in society, by encouraging the fair exchange of information and enforcing fundamental rules of security and privacy in distributed environments under the control of multiple unconnected providers.

 

Progress

During the first project phase, corresponding to the first project year, the focus was placed on the analysis of existing techniques, application specifications and security requirements. All work packages initiated work and produced altogether 10 Deliverables (including this first Periodic Report) throughout the first project year.

During the second project phase, corresponding to the second project year, the focus was to support works on all project topics including defining application and protocol specifications, as well as developing various architecture designs and secure platforms. All work packages produced altogether 15 Deliverables and 2 Milestones throughout the second project year.

During the third project phase, corresponding to the third project year, the main objectives/milestones were pursued and achieved across the work package boundaries. In period 3, the project successfully reached two milestones: Milestone 6 (MS6) was about domain specific prototypes and efficient verifiability of secure computation functionalities. These goals were reached through cooperation of WP13, WP23 and WP24 and the submission of D23.2, D23.3, D24.4 and D13.2 in April 2016 (M30). Milestone 7 (MS7) focused on architecture protocols and demonstration, prototype results, legislative developments and workshops. These goals were reached through cooperation of WP13, WP14, WP21, WP22, WP23, WP24, WP31 and WP32. Furthermore, D21.3, D13.2, D14.3, D22.4, D23.4, D14.4, D13.4, D24.5, D31.3 and D32.3 were successfully submitted within this milestone.

The progress achieved by all work packages within the first and second project year is in line with the initial plan and can be summarized as follows:

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expand WP11 (Analysis of Existing Techniques)

was responsible for a theoretical analysis of existing protocols for secure computation, in both the two-party and the multi-party settings. The analysis was with respect to generic protocols and to specialized protocols that solve specific problems with particular interest. Relevant key technologies are protocols for secure two-party computation based on the Yao and GMW techniques and their variants, protocols for multi-party computation based on the GMW and BGW techniques and their variants, protocols with a pre-processing step that have a very efficient online step, such as the BDOZA and SPDZ protocols, specialized protocols for specific problems such as private set intersection, and methods for enduring universal verifiability of the protocols. The WP members conducted a study, based on scenarios in WP12, of different techniques for secure computation, with an emphasis for the Yao and BMR techniques. Further the effect of different improvements to the basic building blocks of Yao's protocol was investigated. The partners also continued their studies on protocols for secure outsourcing and of computational secret sharing with applications to MPC. The partners worked also on the implementing of advanced variations of the Yao protocol with optimized performance and security against malicious adversaries.

expand WP12 (Applications Specifications)

was responsible for the specification of application scenarios that greatly benefit from secure computation technologies. Furthermore, the WP provided adversary, trust, communication and system models based on those scenarios. Another objective of WP12 was the application of formal verification techniques to application scenarios that require the establishment of strict correctness and security guarantees for critical components. The application scenarios were compiled in D12.1 “Application scenarios and their requirements”. For each use case scenario an animation was created and published on the project website. Adversary, trust, communication and system models were described in D12.2 “Adversary, trust, communication and system models”. Requirements for formal verification were summarized in D12.3 “Formal verification requirements”. All work planned for this WP was completed successfully.

expand WP13 (Protocol Specification and Design)

was responsible for designing new protocols for secure two-party and multi-party computation, and for designing efficient verifiability solutions for secure computation. This work built upon the analysis of the state of the art by WP12, with the goal of designing new solutions where the existing protocols are insufficient. The tasks in this WP spanned until the end of the project. In the first year, initial work started on the design of new protocols. In the second year, the protocol development work was largely based on the results of WP12 in D11.2 “An evaluation of current protocols based on identified model”, which identified shortcomings in the state-of-the-art in secure computation, mostly in terms of the scalability of existing solutions. In the third year, more advanced protocols were developed. Most of the results that are achieved in this WP have been published in multiple research papers at top-tier academic conferences.

expand WP14 (Final Implementation)

In WP14 (Final Implementation) work was performed to design and develop a platform for secure computation. The goal of this platform is to allow industrial and research users to quickly implement new secure computation solutions and validate the attributes of the solution. A main aim of the platform is to be flexible supporting multiple applications, scenarios and secure computation methods. As such the platform should support the implementation of both new secure computation methods and applications utilizing the implemented methods. As part of this work we have developed a general architecture for secure computation frameworks supporting the overall goals of the platform resulting in D14.1 “Architecture”. An example implementation of the framework architecture was presented in D14.2 “Platform for Secure Computing”. The architecture was developed in close coordination with WP21, in order to align the architecture with that of D21.2 “Unified architecture for programmable secure computation” on the general architecture for secure computation applications and services. Additionally, we have worked to implement new secure computation methods, resulting from the theoretical work in WP13, into the platform. Thus allowing secure computation based applications to take advantage of these new methods. This work resulted in D14.3 “Protocol implementations” describing a number of the implemented secure computation protocols. The platform has been validated partially by supporting the protocol implementations and integration described above, and partially by supporting the development of a number of prototypes addressing real world scenarios throughout the PRACTICE project. These validation activities were reported in D14.4 “Validation report”.


expand WP21 (Architecture and Integration)

was responsible to ensure that the secure computation technologies in PRACTICE fit together and are usable in real-world information systems. The consortium has brought together the world’s leading experts in deploying real-life secure computation applications. The WP started by collecting all that knowledge and compiling an architectural analysis of current deployments. This resulted in D21.1 “Deployment models and trust analysis for secure computation services and applications – a useful document for planning future deployments in an outside of PRACTICE. In follow-up work, D21.2 “Unified architecture for programmable secure computations” describes the SPEAR and DAGGER frameworks of PRACTICE and shows how to apply PRACTICE technologies to build real-world systems. D21.2 presents several architectural patterns for building PRACTICE applications of a certain kind (e.g., enterprise Java applications, web services). This work is then continued in D21.3 “Application architecture for secure computation” that gives more detailed guidelines on how to integrate PRACTICE technologies with both new and legacy user interfaces. WP21 has also performed continuous validation of the architecture by building prototypes and integrating with other WPs. For example, WP14 is closely collaborating with WP21 to ensure alignment. One of the most impressive achievements to date is the cloud-powered tax fraud detection system that is one of the largest secure multi-party computation applications ever built. Its evaluation on the Amazon cloud also showed that there is a strong synergy between secure computing and the cloud – as the cloud was the key component for increasing the performance of the Sharemind secure computing platform used for the prototype. Second, the survey system developed in collaboration with WP23 and demonstrates how the SPEAR/DAGGER architecture allows a secure cloud service to be built on two competing PRACTICE technologies. To conclude, this work package has been coordinating integration throughout the project, with other work packages often presenting their pilots and demonstrators and prototypes aligned with the common architecture.

expand WP22 (Tools)

In WP22 (Tools) a set of tools was designed and implemented, that allow application developers to utilize secure computation techniques for their applications without expert knowledge in cryptography. In the first year, the consortium analysed the state of the art resulting in D22.1 “State-of-the-art analysis” and D22.2 “Tools design document”. In contrast, in the second year the consortium started to implement novel tools and to extend and enhance existing tools with novel approaches. These efforts resulted in several prototypical tools for secure computation, privacy preserving databases and formal verification as reported in deliverable D22.3 “Software development kit and tools prototype (1st version)”. In the final year these tools were further improved and extended as described in deliverable D22.4 “Software development kit and tools (final version)”: Among the results are new functionalities such as NoSQL support, private function evaluation and tools for verifying the secure computation engines as well as further improvements like runtime optimizations, simplified deployment phases and comprehensive documentation. The final result of this WP is a variety of tools covering the entire SPEAR/DAGGER architecture developed within PRACTICE in WP21.


expand WP23 (Secure Statistics Prototype)

focused on developing software for secure statistics tailored various applications such as online questionnaires (surveys), relative performance evaluation (benchmarking), DNA analysis and descriptive statistics in a more broad sense. A number of prototypes have been developed and improved during the course of the project. All applications use Secure Multiparty Computation (MPC) to keep input data (answers to surveys, sensitive company data, DNA profiles etc.) confidential at all time. The initial Secure Survey application was the first prototype in PRACTICE and based on input from the other WPs – D23.1 “Platform for secure surveys”. The Secure Survey system utilizes the flexibility of the SPEAR & DAGGER architecture to allow the secure survey system to run on two different secure multiparty computation engines: Sharemind and Fresco/SPDZ. Hereby, the system offers different security levels and addresses furthermore a potential market risk from vendor lock-in. The Survey System has been used in several real-life surveys and improved accordingly during the course of the project. As oppose to the generic survey system, the next two prototypes developed in WP23 and described in D23.2 “Secure financial and medical prototypes”, was tailored financial risk assessment and DNA analysis. Both applications addresses concrete business cases where secure statistics adds value directly. Also, a large number of stakeholders have been involved in designing and testing the prototypes to ensure that the solutions solve real problems. Both prototypes have been improved and extended in the final deliverable. This includes a combined use-case, where encrypted answers from the survey system are input to financial risk assessment. D23.3 “An online portal providing secure computation capabilities” includes a large number of improvements and extensions of the three prototypes mentioned above as well as a Secure Computation Cloud Orchestrator service. This service aims at easing the uptake of MPC by simplifying the development and deployment of MPC applications.

expandWP24 (Supply Chain Prototype)

was aimed at developing and evaluating supply chain management prototype systems. Firstly, new collaborative supply chain models and computing algorithms, responding to the identified industrial business challenges, were developed and customized, resulting in functional requirements for prototypes. The application of these models introduces confidential data leakage risks, i.e. reduction of competitive advantage and reduction of negotiation power. To focus that issue, required data protection levels were measured, resulting in validated security requirements. Successively the analysis of real industrial cases identified the troubles in case of innovative business models application. In the aeronautic case, the large and unstable turn-around-time is a relevant negative performance in case of performance-based contract model. The causes of that are the scarce resource planning capabilities and the shortage in spare parts inventory (due to missing engine health status data from engine operators), both causes are positively affected by more accurate demand forecasts in term of demand in future time slots, and of engine components requiring services. Instead, ARC is not able to satisfy the product demand, due to differences between demand forecasts and actual demand. Indeed, demand forecasts are based on the pre-orders of customers that are not enough accurate and focused mainly on obtaining future economic benefits. The test on the prototype applications, completed in the third project year, provided the following results. The aeronautic application is able to analyse the encrypted engine health status database and to identify which of them will need service in a future time slots. The consumer goods prototype, instead, aggregates encrypted pre-orders provided by several customers for the same products and deliver the result to the OEM. The prototype applications satisfy the industrial functional and security requirements. The computing performances (i.e. time required by computation) are aligned to standard industrial applications. The simulation of supply chain costs incurred applying the secure cloud supply chain management system showed a cost reduction as high as 10% for some engine components, depending on their demand properties, and as high as 8% in two product categories of ARC.

expandWP31 (Business Implications and Risks)

The goal of WP31 (Business Implications and Risks) was twofold: reporting on the current legal framework regulating the protection of data stored and processed on the cloud from one side and developing a risk assessment methodology for data sharing in cloud-based services, on the other side. The WP aimed to provide a complete overview of the current legal framework regulating data protection in the European Union. Since the legal framework is changing, the WP discusses the EU Data Protection Directive currently in force and the proposals for the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), highlighting their relevance to the processing of personal data on the cloud. The WP introduced also a new methodology supporting the risk-aware deployment of secure computation and provided the analysis and the quantitative evaluation of risks related to privacy and confidentiality breaches during the execution of a multi-party business process on the cloud. Techniques for the estimation of the probability of information disclosure among colluding partners are discussed in detail, introducing also a new possibilistic approach, based on the analysis of the micro-economics underlying the business process and the information’s value. Furthermore, a web-based tool was presented, allowing the modelling and the simulation of the business processes executed on the cloud.

 

expand WP32 (Dissemination, Standardisation, Exploitation and Training)

Within WP32 (Dissemination, Standardisation, Exploitation and Training) the early established robust IT infrastructure (website, SVN repository including web access, mailing lists and mailing lists archives) was updated regularly. PRACTICE has also advertised by web pages, press releases and newsletters were published and distributed, amongst others, to industrial partners contacted in the context of the project results. Hardcopies of the PRACTICE project leaflet were distributed by partners at various events. To summarize, the achievements and work towards the project goals during the third project year for dissemination and standardisation include: 19 peer-reviewed scientific publications, 27 presentations in conferences or organized events (workshops, winter/summer schools) with an international audience and very good feedback, contributions to privacy and cloud technology standards in international standardisation bodies. The project is visible on twitter and LinkedIn. Newsletters have been published and distributed, amongst others, to industrial partners contacted in the context of the project results. A list of dissemination activities has been compiled and updated periodically. All details regarding dissemination, exploitation and standardisation activities can be found in D32.3.

expand WP33 (Project Management)

was responsible for the effective organization of the project and covered all relevant management components, including risk and innovation management.

Project reference: 609611
Start date: 2013-11-01
End date: 2016-10-31
Duration: 36 months
Project cost: € 10.456.059
Project funding: € 7.550.000                   

          Programme type:
Seventh Framework Programme
Programme acronym:
FP7-ICT-2013-10
Contract type:
Collaborative project

 

  europa

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 609611

 

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