Homomorphic Encryption

Homomorphic Encryption

Established: March 27, 2016

Featured News

Kristin Lauter in front of Microphone for Podcast

Tales from the Crypt(ography) Lab with Dr. Kristin Lauter | Microsoft Research Podcast, April 11, 2018

The Second Homomorphic Encryption Standardization Workshop

Second homomorphic encryption standardization workshop delivers the goods | Microsoft Research Blog, April 10, 2018

Homomorphic Encryption

Homomorphic Encryption (HE) refers to a special type of encryption technique that allows for computations to be done on encrypted data, without requiring access to a secret (decryption) key. The results of the computations are encrypted, and can be revealed only by the owner of the secret key.


While traditional encryption schemes can be used to privately outsource data storage to the cloud, the data cannot be used for computations without first decrypting it. This results in a huge loss of utility. For example, a secure cloud service may require a user to download their encrypted data, decrypt it locally, and perform necessary computations, instead of simply returning an encrypted result to the user.

Homomorphic encryption solves this problem, as it allows the cloud service to perform the computations while protecting the customer’s data with a state-of-the-art cryptographic security guarantee. The cloud only ever sees encrypted data, and only the customer can reveal the result of the computation.

Microsoft SEAL

We developed and actively maintain Microsoft SEAL, a library with the goal of making homomorphic encryption available in an easy-to-use form both to experts and to non-experts. For more information visit sealcrypto.org. Microsoft SEAL is available for download on GitHub.


We demonstrated (see paper) that deep learning on homomorphically encrypted data is indeed feasible. This approach can have a wide range of applications in cloud industry, healthcare, genomics, and finance.


We are actively working towards the standardization of homomorphic encryption. Towards this effort, we’ve hosted two previous workshops, gathering together a large group of experts from industry, academia, and government to discuss the way ahead. More information on the standardization efforts can be found at http://HomomorphicEncryption.org.

Learn more about the next Homomorphic Encryption Standardization Workshop on August 17, 2019.