Verifiable privacy-preserving multi-keyword text search in the cloud supporting similarity-based ranking

Wenhai Sun, Bing Wang, Ning Cao, Ming Li, Wenjing Lou, Y. Thomas Hou, Hui Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

203 Scopus citations


With the growing popularity of cloud computing, huge amount of documents are outsourced to the cloud for reduced management cost and ease of access. Although encryption helps protecting user data confidentiality, it leaves the well-functioning yet practically-efficient secure search functions over encrypted data a challenging problem. In this paper, we present a verifiable privacy-preserving multi-keyword text search (MTS) scheme with similarity-based ranking to address this problem. To support multi-keyword search and search result ranking, we propose to build the search index based on term frequency and the vector space model with cosine similarity measure to achieve higher search result accuracy. To improve the search efficiency, we propose a tree-based index structure and various adaptive methods for multi-dimensional (MD) algorithm so that the practical search efficiency is much better than that of linear search. To further enhance the search privacy, we propose two secure index schemes to meet the stringent privacy requirements under strong threat models, i.e., known ciphertext model and known background model. In addition, we devise a scheme upon the proposed index tree structure to enable authenticity check over the returned search results. Finally, we demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of the proposed schemes through extensive experimental evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6656804
Pages (from-to)3025-3035
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cloud computing
  • multi-keyword search
  • privacy-preserving search
  • similarity-based ranking
  • verifiable search

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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