EDBT 2021

Title: An Efficient and Secure Location-based Alert Protocol using Searchable Encryption and Huffman Codes

Publication Link:


Location data are widely used in mobile apps, ranging from location-based recommendations, to social media and navigation. A specific type of interaction is that of location-based alerts, where mobile users subscribe to a service provider (SP) in order to be notified when a certain event occurs nearby. Consider, for instance, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, where contact tracing has been singled out as an effective means to control the virus spread. Users wish to be notified if they came in proximity to an infected individual. However, serious privacy concerns arise if the users share their location history with the SP in plaintext. To address privacy, recent work proposed several protocols that can securely implement location-based alerts. The users upload their encrypted locations to the SP, and the evaluation of location predicates is done directly on ciphertexts. When a certain individual is reported as infected, all matching ciphertexts are found (e.g., according to a predicate such as “10 feet proximity to any of the locations visited by the infected patient in the last week”), and the corresponding users notified. However, there are significant performance issues associated with existing protocols. The underlying searchable encryption primitives required to perform the matching on ciphertexts are expensive, and without a proper encoding of locations and search predicates, the performance can degrade a lot. In this paper, we propose a novel method for variable-length location encoding based on Huffman codes. By controlling the length required to represent encrypted locations and the corresponding matching predicates, we are able to significantly speed up performance. We provide a theoretical analysis of the gain achieved by using Huffman codes, and we show through extensive experiments that the improvement compared with fixed-length encoding methods is substantial.

DBSec 2020

Title: Enhancing the Performance of Spatial Queries on Encrypted Data Through Graph Embedding

Presented in IFIP Annual Conference on Data and Applications Security and Privacy

Publication Link: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-49669-2_17

Abstract: Most online mobile services make use of location data to improve customer experience. Mobile users can locate points of interest near them, or can receive recommendations tailored to their whereabouts. However, serious privacy concerns arise when location data is revealed in clear to service providers. Several solutions employ Searchable Encryption (SE) to evaluate spatial predicates directly on location ciphertexts. While doing so preserves privacy, the performance overhead incurred is high. We focus on a prominent SE technique in the public-key setting – Hidden Vector Encryption (HVE), and propose a graph embedding technique to encode location data in a way that significantly boosts the performance of processing on ciphertexts. We show that finding the optimal encoding is NP-hard, and provide several heuristics that are fast and obtain significant performance gains. Our extensive experimental evaluation shows that our solutions can improve computational overhead by a factor of two compared to the baseline.

ICC Conference 2020

Title: Extended kalman filter beam tracking for millimeter wave vehicular communications

Publication Link:



Millimeter-wave (mmWave) communication is a promising technology to meet the ever-growing data traffic of vehicular communications. Unfortunately, more frequent channel estimations are required in this spectrum due to the narrow beams employed to compensate for the high path loss. Hence, the development of highly efficient beam tracking algorithms is essential to enable the technology, particularly for fast-changing environments in vehicular communications. In this paper, we propose an innovative scheme for beam tracking based on the Extended Kalman Filter (EKF), improving the mean square error performance by 49% in vehicular settings. We propose to use the position, velocity, and channel coefficient as state variables of the EKF algorithm and show that such an approach results in improved beam tracking with low computational complexity by taking the kinematic characteristics of the system into account. We also explicitly derive the closed-from expressions for the Jacobian matrix of the EKF algorithm.