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RSA Laboratories

PORs: Proofs of Retrievability for Large Files

Citation: A. Juels and B. Kaliski. PORs: Proofs of Retrievability for Large Files. ACM CCS, pp. 584–597. 2007.

Abstract: In this paper, we define and explore Proofs of Retrievability (PORs). A POR scheme enables an archive or back-up service (prover) to produce a concise proof that a user (verifier) can retrieve a target file F, that is, that the archive retains and reliably transmits file data sufficient for the user to recover F in its entirety.

A POR may be viewed as a kind of cryptographic proof of knowledge (POK), but one specially designed to handle a file (or bitstring) F. We explore POR protocols here in which the communication costs, number of memory accesses for the prover, and storage requirements of the user (verifier) are small parameters essentially independent of the length of F. In addition to proposing new, practical POR constructions, we explore implementation considerations and optimizations that bear on previously explored, related schemes.

In a POR, unlike a POK, neither the prover nor the verifier need actually have knowledge of F. PORs give rise to a new and unusual security definition whose formulation is another contribution of our work.

We view PORs as an important tool for semi-trusted online archives. Existing cryptographic techniques help users ensure the privacy and integrity of files they retrieve. It is also natural, however, for users to want to verify that archives do not delete or modify files prior to retrieval. The goal of a POR is to accomplish these checks without users having to download the files themselves. A POR can also provide quality-of-service guarantees, i.e., show that a file is retrievable within a certain time bound.

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