Oblivious Network RAM and Leveraging Parallelism to Achieve Obliviousness
Oblivious RAM (ORAM) is a cryptographic primitive that allows a trusted CPU to securely access untrusted memory, such that the access patterns reveal nothing about sensitive data. ORAM is known to have broad applications in secure processor design and secure multiparty computation for big data. Unfortunately, due to a logarithmic lower bound by Goldreich and Ostrovsky (J ACM 43(3):431–473, 1996 ), ORAM is bound to incur a moderate cost in practice. In particular, with the latest developments in ORAM constructions, we are quickly approaching this limit, and the room for performance improvement is small. In this paper, we consider new models of computation in which the cost of obliviousness can be fundamentally reduced in comparison with the standard ORAM model. We propose the oblivious network RAM model of computation, where a CPU communicates with multiple memory banks, such that the adversary observes only which bank the CPU is communicating with, but not the address offset within each memory bank. In other words, obliviousness within each bank comes for free—either because the architecture prevents a malicious party from observing the address accessed within a bank, or because another solution is used to obfuscate memory accesses within each bank—and hence we only need to obfuscate communication patterns between the CPU and the memory banks. We present new constructions for obliviously simulating general or parallel programs in the network RAM model. We describe applications of our new model in distributed storage applications with a network adversary.