[Resource Topic] 2024/118: Data Privacy Made Easy: Enhancing Applications with Homomorphic Encryption

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Data Privacy Made Easy: Enhancing Applications with Homomorphic Encryption

Authors: Charles Gouert, Nektarios Georgios Tsoutsos


Homomorphic encryption is a powerful privacy-preserving technology that is notoriously difficult to configure and use, even for experts. The key difficulties include restrictive programming models of homomorphic schemes and choosing suitable parameters for an application. In this tutorial, we outline methodologies to solve these issues and allow for conversion of any application to the encrypted domain using both leveled and fully homomorphic encryption.

The first approach, called Walrus, is suitable for arithmetic-intensive applications with limited depth and applications with high throughput requirements. Walrus provides an intuitive programming interface and handles parameterization automatically by analyzing the application and gathering statistics such as homomorphic noise growth to derive a parameter set tuned specifically for the application. We provide an in-depth example of this approach in the form of a neural network inference as well as guidelines for using Walrus effectively.

Conversely, the second approach (HELM) takes existing HDL designs and converts them to the encrypted domain for secure outsourcing on powerful cloud servers. Unlike Walrus, HELM supports FHE backends and is well-suited for complex applications. At a high level, HELM consumes netlists and is capable of performing logic gate operations homomorphically on encryptions of individual bits. HELM incorporates both CPU and GPU acceleration by taking advantage of the inherent parallelism provided by Boolean circuits. As a case study, we walk through the process of taking an off-the-shelf HDL design in the form of AES-128 decryption and running it in the encrypted domain with HELM.

ePrint: https://eprint.iacr.org/2024/118

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