Data Mining has wide applications in many areas such as banking, medicine, scientific research and among government agencies. Classification is one of the commonly used tasks in data mining applications. For the past decade, due to the rise of various privacy issues, many theoretical and practical solutions to the classification problem have been proposed under different security models. However, with the recent popularity of cloud computing, users now have the opportunity to outsource their data, in encrypted form, as well as the data mining tasks to the cloud. Since the data on the cloud is in encrypted form, existing privacy-preserving classification techniques are not applicable. In this paper, we focus on solving the classification problem over encrypted data. In particular, we propose a secure k-NN classifier over encrypted data in the cloud. The proposed protocol protects the confidentiality of data, privacy of user’s input query, and hides the data access patterns. To the best of our knowledge, our work is the first to develop a secure k-NN classifier over encrypted data under the semi-honest model. Also, we empirically analyze the efficiency of our proposed protocol using a real-world dataset under different parameter settings.
Recently, the cloud computing paradigm  is revolutionizing the organizations’ way of operating their data particularly in the way they store, access and process data. As an emerging computing paradigm, cloud computing attracts many organizations to consider seriously regarding cloud potential in terms of its cost-efficiency, flexibility, and offload of administrative overhead. Most often, organizations delegate their computational operations in addition to their data to the cloud. Despite tremendous advantages that the cloud offers, privacy and security issues in the cloud are preventing companies to utilize those advantages. When data are highly sensitive, the data need to be encrypted before outsourcing to the cloud. However, when data are encrypted, irrespective of the underlying encryption scheme, performing any data mining tasks becomes very challenging without ever decrypting the data. There are other privacy concerns, demonstrated by the following example. Example 1. Suppose an insurance company outsourced its encrypted customers database and relevant data mining tasks to a cloud. When an agent from the company wants to determine the risk level of a potential new customer, the agent can use a classification method to determine the risk level of the customer. First, the agent needs to generate a data record q for the customer containing certain personal information of the customer, e.g., credit score, age, marital status, etc. Then this record can be sent to the cloud, and the cloud will compute the class label for q. Nevertheless, since q contains sensitive information, to protect the customer’s privacy, q should be encrypted before sending it to the cloud. The above example shows that data mining over encrypted data (denoted by DMED) on a cloud also needs to protect a user’s record when the record is a part of a data mining process. Moreover, cloud can also derive useful and sensitive information about the actual data items by observing the data access patterns even if the data are encrypted , . Therefore, the privacy/security requirements of the DMED problem on a cloud are threefold: (1) confidentiality of the encrypted data, (2) confidentiality of a user’s query record, and (3) hiding data access patterns. Existing work on privacy-preserving data mining (PPDM) (either perturbation or secure multi-party computation (SMC) based approach) cannot solve the DMED problem. Perturbed data do not possess semantic security, so data perturbation techniques cannot be used to encrypt highly sensitive data. Also the perturbed data do not produce very accurate data mining results. Secure multi-party computation based approach assumes data are distributed and not encrypted at each participating party. In addition, many intermediate computations are performed based on non-encrypted data. As a result, in this paper, we proposed novel methods to effectively solve the DMED problem assuming that the encrypted data are outsourced to a cloud. Specifically, we focus on the classification problem since it is one of the most common data mining tasks. Because each classification technique has their own advantage, to be concrete, this paper concentrates on executing the k-nearest neighbor classification method over encrypted data in the cloud computing environment.