Ryoan: A Distributed Sandbox for Untrusted Computation on Secret Data


Tyler Hunt, Zhiting Zhu, Yuanzhong Xu, Simon Peter, and Emmett Witchel, The University of Texas at Austin

Awarded Best Paper


Users of modern data-processing services such as tax preparation or genomic screening are forced to trust them with data that the users wish to keep secret. Ryoan protects secret data while it is processed by services that the data owner does not trust. Accomplishing this goal in a distributed setting is difficult because the user has no control over the service providers or the computational platform. Confining code to prevent it from leaking secrets is notoriously difficult, but Ryoan benefits from new hardware and a request-oriented data model.

Ryoan provides a distributed sandbox, leveraging hardware enclaves (e.g., Intel’s software guard extensions (SGX) to protect sandbox instances from potentially malicious computing platforms. The protected sandbox instances confine untrusted data-processing modules to prevent leakage of the user’s input data. Ryoan is designed for a request-oriented data model, where confined modules only process input once and do not persist state about the input. We present the design and prototype implementation of Ryoan and evaluate it on a series of challenging problems including email filtering, heath analysis, image processing and machine translation.

Open Access Media

USENIX is committed to Open Access to the research presented at our events. Papers and proceedings are freely available to everyone once the event begins. Any video, audio, and/or slides that are posted after the event are also free and open to everyone. Support USENIX and our commitment to Open Access.

Presentation Audio

@inproceedings {199358,
author = {Tyler Hunt and Zhiting Zhu and Yuanzhong Xu and Simon Peter and Emmett Witchel},
title = {Ryoan: A Distributed Sandbox for Untrusted Computation on Secret Data},
booktitle = {12th {USENIX} Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation ({OSDI} 16)},
year = {2016},
isbn = {978-1-931971-33-1},
address = {Savannah, GA},
pages = {533--549},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/osdi16/technical-sessions/presentation/hunt},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},