Seny Kamara

Researcher, Microsoft Research

twitter: @senykam
pub key: B80B 84AC 9C5D 174D

I am a researcher in the Cryptography Group at Microsoft Research (Redmond Lab). I completed a Ph.D. in Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University under the supervision of Fabian Monrose. At Hopkins I was a member of the Security and Privacy Applied Research (SPAR) Lab. I spent the Fall of 2006 at UCLA's IPAM and the summer of 2003 at CMU's CyLab.

My research is primarily in cloud security and cryptography but I maintain interests in various aspects of theory and systems, including applied and theoretical cryptography, privacy, surveillance, information security, technology policy, networking, algorithms and economics.


The goal of this project is to explore how security and privacy can be reconciled through the use of advanced cryptography. In [1] we show how to design a privacy-preserving alternative to the NSA metadata program. For a high-level overview of the project see these slides and this blog post.

The MetaCrypt project has been covered by MIT Tech Review.

Encrypted search

Our goal is to design methods to efficiently search on encrypted data. In [2], we constructed the first searchable symmetric encryption (SSE) schemes with sub-linear and optimal search complexity. We also introduced what have now become the standard notions of security for encrypted search. In [3], we constructed the first optimal-time dynamic SSE scheme (i.e., that supports updates). In [4], we introduced a new approach for sub-linear-time SSE that is dynamic and parallel. In [5] we introduced the notion of structured encryption and, in particular, of graph encryption. In [5, 6] we showed how to search/query encrypted matrices, graphs, and web graphs. In [7], we showed how to search over encrypted data using MapReduce/Hadoop.

For an introduction to the area of encrypted search see this series of blog posts and this set of slides. Some of our work has been covered by MIT Tech Review [8, 9] and Communications of the ACM [10].

Cloud storage systems

Our objective is to build secure cloud storage systems without sacrificing efficiency and utility. In particular, our systems provide integrity and verifiability while supporting various forms of search on encrypted data. The details of our architecture can be found in [11]. Our work on the underlying cryptographic primitives is described in various works, including [2, 3, 4] on searchable encryption, [12] on proofs of storage and [5, 6] on structured encryption.

Secure multi-party computation

We are exploring the extent to which cloud computing can improve the practicality and scalability of secure multi-party computation by considering a setting where parties can outsource their work to an untrusted cloud provider. Our initial work on this model can be found in [13]. More efficient protocols and experimental results appear in [14].

Recent Publications (full list)

Recent Talks & Lectures (full list)

Program (co-)chair:

  • ACM Cloud Computing Security Workshop (CCSW '12)
Events (co-)organized: Invited speaker:

I have worked with the following outstanding group of students:

If you are interested in an internship in the Crypto Group, please send me or any other group member an email.

Program committees:
  • Crypto and Network Security (CANS '09, '10, '12, '13)
  • Selected Areas in Cryptography (SAC '11)
  • Applied Cryptography & Network Security (ACNS '09, '11)
  • Stabilization, Safety, and Security of Distributed Systems (SSS '10)
  • Practice and Theory in Public-key Cryptography (PKC '09)

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