Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

How to Delete a Secret

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Feng Hao, Dr Dylan Clarke



This paper discusses the secure data erasure problem andintroduces a new Proof of Deletion protocol, which assures secure data deletion in a way that any independent third party can verify cryptographically. The use of cryptography in data deletion is not new, but previous solutions are unsatisfactory as they merely return a single bit: whether the deletion is successful. However, this single bit is not easily verifiable. The implementation of the underlying deletion mechanism is entirely opaque to a user. This is particularly the case when the encryption program is encapsulated within a tamper resistant chip. Furthermore,all existing solutions claim only to make "best efforts" to delete data, but without any commitment to the outcome. Our protocol systematically addresses all these issues. First, we provide an auditing function to facilitate a user verifying that the encryption was done correctly.Second, instead of returning just one bit like all previous data deletion schemes, our solution returns a proof of deletion that is universally verifiable.This returned proof formalizes the commitment of the storagesystem in erasing data and cryptographically binds this commitment to the outcome of the operation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hao F, Clarke D

Publication type: Report

Publication status: Published

Series Title: School of Computing Science Technical Report Series

Year: 2012

Pages: 11

Print publication date: 01/12/2012

Source Publication Date: December 2012

Report Number: 1364

Institution: School of Computing Science, University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Place Published: Newcastle upon Tyne