Practical Attacks on Relational Databases Protected via Searchable Encryption

  • Mohamed Ahmed Abdelraheem
  • Tobias Andersson
  • Christian Gehrmann
  • Cornelius Glackin
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11060)


Searchable symmetric encryption (SSE) schemes are commonly proposed to enable search in a protected unstructured documents such as email archives or any set of sensitive text files. However, some SSE schemes have been recently proposed in order to protect relational databases. Most of the previous attacks on SSE schemes have only targeted its common use case, protecting unstructured data. In this work, we propose a new inference attack on relational databases protected via SSE schemes. Our inference attack enables a passive adversary with only basic knowledge about the meta-data information of the target relational database to recover the attribute names of some observed queries. This violates query privacy since the attribute name of a query is secret.



This work was supported by European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 644814, the PaaSword project within the ICT Programme ICT-07-2014: Advanced Cloud Infrastructures and Services.

Supplementary material


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohamed Ahmed Abdelraheem
    • 1
  • Tobias Andersson
    • 2
  • Christian Gehrmann
    • 3
  • Cornelius Glackin
    • 1
  1. 1.Intelligent Voice Ltd.LondonUK
  2. 2.RISE SICSLundSweden
  3. 3.Lund UniversityLundSweden

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