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A Peer-to-Peer Cloud Storage Network
  • Shawn Wilkinson
  • Tome Boshevski
  • Josh Brandoff
  • James Prestwich
  • Gordon Hall
  • Patrick Gerbes
  • Philip Hutchins
  • Chris Pollard
Abstract

A peer-to-peer cloud storage network implementing client-side encryption would allow users to transfer and share data without reliance on a third party storage provider. The removal of central controls would mitigate most traditional data failures and outages, as well as significantly increase security, privacy, and data control. Peer-to-peer networks are generally unfeasible for production storage systems, as data availability is a function of popularity, rather than utility. We propose a solution in the form of a challenge-response verification system coupled with direct payments. In this way we can periodically check data integrity, and offer rewards to peers maintaining data. We further propose a model for addressing access and performance concerns with a set of independent or federated nodes.

Introduction

Cloud storage has come to rely almost exclusively on large storage providers acting as trusted third parties to transfer and store data. This system suffers from the inherent weaknesses of a trust-based model. Because client-side encryption is nonstandard, the traditional cloud is vulnerable to a variety of security threats, including man-in-the-middle attacks, malware, and application flaws that expose private consumer and corporate data. Moreover, because many storage devices rely on the same infrastructure, failures is correlated across files and systems.

A decentralized cloud storage network offers many advantages compared to datacenter-based cloud storage. Data security can be maintained using client-side encryption, while data integrity will be maintained via a proof of retrievability. The impact of infrastructure failures and security breaches will be greatly reduced. An open market for data storage may drive down costs for various storage services by enabling more parties to compete using existing devices. Data on the network will be resistant to censorship, tampering, unauthorized access, and data failures. This paper describes a concrete implementation of such a network, and a set of tools for interacting with that network.
 
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