Toward Robust Hidden Volumes Using Write-Only Oblivious RAM


November 4, 2014


Travis Mayberry


Northeastern University


With sensitive data being increasingly stored on mobile devices and laptops, hard disk encryption is more important than ever. In particular, being able to plausibly deny that a hard disk contains certain encrypted information is a very useful and interesting research goal. However, it has been known for some time that existing “hidden volume” solutions, like TrueCrypt, fail in the face of an adversary who is able to observe the contents of a disk on multiple, separate occasions. In this talk, I will explore more robust constructions for hidden volumes and present HIVE, which is resistant to more powerful adversaries with multiple-snapshot capabilities. At the core of HIVE, I will present a new write-only Oblivious RAM, which is of independent interest. I will show that, when only hiding writes, it is possible to achieve ORAM with optimal O(1) communication complexity and only poly-logarithmic user memory, a significant improvement over existing work. I will go on to show that this write-only ORAM is specially equipped to provide hidden volume functionality with low overhead and significantly increased security compared to existing solutions.


Travis Mayberry

I started my academic career at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County where I worked with Alan Sherman and others on the secure cryptographic voting system Scantegrity. From there, I entered the PhD program at Northeastern University working with Agnes Chan and Erik-Oliver Blass. My research is currently on cryptographic protocols for efficient secure cloud computation and data retrieval, focusing specifically on practical Oblivious RAM schemes and their real-world applications.