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From "Andrew Purtell (JIRA)" <j...@apache.org>
Subject [jira] [Commented] (HBASE-9578) Client side cell encryption
Date Fri, 04 Oct 2013 13:13:47 GMT

    [ https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/HBASE-9578?page=com.atlassian.jira.plugin.system.issuetabpanels:comment-tabpanel&focusedCommentId=13786122#comment-13786122

Andrew Purtell commented on HBASE-9578:

Hi Larry, if you are interested in discussing encryption options in/for the HBase REST gateway,
it's probably best to open another JIRA. Sounds like you are contemplating having the client
send plaintext to the REST server and then REST acting further on behalf of the client. That's
not the use case here, but it could be useful for other ones.

Having private keys available on the server side - REST in this case - is considered dangerous
because compromise of a common location that aggregates user activity can be used to collect
private key material. The keys used to encrypt the value data at the client should stay on
the client and encryption and decryption should happen there. It's also worth thinking what
can be done on the server, but the server side (including REST) remains untrusted and should
not be able to actually decrypt data. Given this kind of approach, REST would need no modifications
or further considerations, it would just pass through value data already encrypted by the
client and .

It's true that every client could run a REST gateway, but that would not be common I suspect,
people generally would deploy it in a gateway type architecture.

> Client side cell encryption
> ---------------------------
>                 Key: HBASE-9578
>                 URL: https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/HBASE-9578
>             Project: HBase
>          Issue Type: New Feature
>            Reporter: Andrew Purtell
> HBASE-7544 will protect key and value data on the server from accidental leakage by way
of improperly disposed disks, improper direct filesystem access, or incorrect HDFS permissions.
There are also use cases where sensitive data stored in a table or column family by a given
user or application should be protected from all others, and the combination of transparent
server-side storage encryption and transport security (SASL auth-conf) is still not sufficient.
These instances call for a client side per-cell encryption feature, given the following additional
> - The scope of transmission, distribution, and storage of private key material should
be as limited as possible. The server is a centralized target (even in the case of an HBase
cluster) where the scope of damage from a compromise is magnified if user key material also
resides there or can be intercepted after compromise. Where keys are stored in hardware devices,
e.g. smartcards, getting the keys to the server may be not possible anyway.
> - A client system is far more likely than a contended shared server resource to have
necessary available CPU cycles for per-operation cryptographic overheads.
> For some cases we might not care so much about the second item, but the first is very
> I have an implementation of per cell client side encryption as an encrypting HTable wrapper
which I could contribute if there is interest.
> This JIRA is also about brainstorming how to do better than that.

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