Patent number 8607057 is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Every day the amount of data collected from a wide array of sources continues to grow. Sensors may acquire data ranging from temperature, air pressure, wave height, seismic activity, stock prices, commodity prices, and so forth. Where large numbers of sensors are employed, aggregators may receive and consolidate the data from sensors. These aggregators combine data, until a final parent aggregator generates a complete set of sensor data.
"A portal, such as a server on the internet, may request information from an aggregator to fulfill a request. Unfortunately, it has traditionally been difficult to provide an assurance that information which has been aggregated has not been corrupted. Such corruption may occur because of system glitches or a malicious actor. Corruption may include increasing the reported value of a sensor ('inflation') or reducing the reported value ('deflation').
"Various schemes have been put forth to try and secure aggregation. One scheme involves a single entity tightly controlling all aggregators, then making the assumption that these aggregators are not compromised. This scheme has several drawbacks. For example, an organization may not be able to afford the cost of maintaining such a system. Or the organization may not have the technical expertise or geographic reach necessary to maintain the aggregators.
"Another scheme to secure aggregation involves the encryption of data at the sensor. This scheme has several drawbacks as well. For example, if the aggregator has the capability to decrypt data, typically considered necessary to aggregate the data, it gains the ability to tamper with the data before sending along to the portal. If the data is not decrypted at the aggregator, the portal is heavily loaded with the task of decrypting and aggregating data itself, removing the benefits of aggregators in the first place.
"Thus, there is a desire to outsource aggregation while retaining the capability to determine if sensor data has been inflated or deflated."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "This Summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This Summary is not intended to identify key features or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used to limit the scope of the claimed subject matter.
"Secure aggregation may be accomplished through the use of a framework incorporating inflation free proofs and a deflation free proofs for sensor data. This framework and associated protocols permits use of aggregates such as max, top-k, sum, average, count, count distinct, etc., in such a fashion as to provide an assurance that an outsourced aggregator has not tampered with the results.
"A sensor or other input data source generates a Verifiable Synopsis ('VS') which includes sensor data, an Inflation Free Proof ('IFP') generated using a cryptographic function and a Self-Authenticating Value ('SEAL') chain generated using a one-way function from a seed value. An aggregator may take a plurality of SEALs and fold them together, creating a SEAL representing the true aggregate result (e.g., the maximum value for the MAX aggregate). This folded value provides a concise proof of the aggregate value reported by a sensor, thus providing a check against deflation of sensor data. Similarly, the cryptographic function of the IFP provides a mechanism to prevent inflation of the sensor data. The aggregator may then create Aggregated Verifiable Synopses ('AVS') which includes the folded SEAL, the IFP's and the sensor data.
"In this application, the maximum function is used as an example aggregate function, and not by way of limitation. Many other aggregates such as Count, Sum, Average, Random Samples (and hence any answer based on samples) can be computed using Maximum as a black box; therefore, our solution for Maximum aggregate can be applied to all these aggregates as well.
"A portal may take the AVS and generate a reference synopsis (RS) which is compared to the VS. When the RS equals the VS, the sensor data is valid.
"SEAL chains of equal length may be folded together while retaining the deflation-free proof. In simple rolling, all SEAL chains are rolled forward (that is, iterated with the one-way function F( )) to the same length, then folded together. However, significant reductions in computational load are realized by folded rolling. Folded rolling involves ordering SEAL chains by length, rolling a shortest first SEAL chain forward to match a length of a next shortest second SEAL chain. The first SEAL chain and second SEAL chain are then folded together. The resulting folded SEAL is then folded with the next shortest SEAL chain. The process is repeated until only a single SEAL remains. Folded rolling results in significant reductions in computational overhead, allowing computationally intensive one-way functions F( ), such as RSA, to exceed the performance of simpler hash functions.
"Finally, in addition to the maximum function described, other functions may benefit from this secure framework. For example, a top-k function may securely aggregate a top 'k' number of values, where k is an integer number. From a set of SEAL values, a maximum SEAL value is determined. The maximum SEAL value is stored and removed from the set, and the set is refolded and a next maximum SEAL value is determined. This process continues, removing the top value until k is reached."
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