The HEROIC framework: Encrypted computation without shared keys

Nektarios Georgios Tsoutsos, Michail Maniatakos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Outsourcing computation to the cloud has recently become a very attractive option for enterprises and consumers, due to mostly reduced cost and extensive scalability. At the same time, however, concerns about the privacy of the data entrusted to cloud providers keeps rising. To address these concerns and thwart potential attackers, cloud providers today resort to numerous security controls as well as data encryption. Since the actual computation is still unencrypted inside cloud microprocessor chips, it is only a matter of time until new attacks and side channels are devised to leak sensitive information. To address the challenge of securing general-purpose computation inside microprocessor chips, we propose a novel computer architecture, and present a complete framework for general-purpose encrypted computation without shared keys, enabling secure data processing. This new architecture, called homomophically encrypted one instruction computation, contrary to the previous work in the area does not require a secret key installed inside the microprocessor chip. Instead, it leverages the powerful properties of homomorphic encryption combined with the simplicity of one instruction set computing. The proposed framework introduces: 1) a RTL implementation for reconfigurable hardware and 2) a ready-to-deploy virtual machine, which can be readily ported to existing server processor architectures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7079493
Pages (from-to)875-888
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design of Integrated Circuits and Systems
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Encrypted processor
  • Paillier
  • cloud computing
  • homomorphic encryption
  • one instruction set computer
  • virtualization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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