## CryptoDB

### Neekon Vafa

#### Publications

**Year**

**Venue**

**Title**

2024

TCC

Sparse Linear Regression and Lattice Problems
Abstract

Sparse linear regression (SLR) is a well-studied problem in statistics where one is given a design matrix $\mathbf{X} \in \mathbb{R}^{m \times n}$ and a response vector $\mathbf{y} = \mathbf{X} \boldsymbol{\theta}^* + \mathbf{w}$ for a $k$-sparse vector $\boldsymbol{\theta}^*$ (that is, $\|\boldsymbol{\theta}^*\|_0 \leq k$) and small, arbitrary noise $\mathbf{w}$, and the goal is to find a $k$-sparse $\widehat{\boldsymbol{\theta}} \in \mathbb{R}^{n}$ that minimizes the mean squared prediction error $\frac{1}{m} \|\mathbf{X} \widehat{\boldsymbol{\theta}} - \mathbf{X} \boldsymbol{\theta}^*\|^2_2$. While $\ell_1$-relaxation methods such as basis pursuit, Lasso, and the Dantzig selector solve SLR when the design matrix is well-conditioned, no general algorithm is known, nor is there any formal evidence of hardness in an average-case setting with respect to all efficient algorithms.
We give evidence of average-case hardness of SLR w.r.t. all efficient algorithms assuming the worst-case hardness of lattice problems. Specifically, we give an instance-by-instance reduction from a variant of the bounded distance decoding (BDD) problem on lattices to SLR, where the condition number of the lattice basis that defines the BDD instance is directly related to the restricted eigenvalue condition of the design matrix, which characterizes some of the classical statistical-computational gaps for sparse linear regression. Also, by appealing to worst-case to average-case reductions from the world of lattices, this shows hardness for a distribution of SLR instances; while the design matrices are ill-conditioned, the resulting SLR instances are in the identifiable regime.
Furthermore, for well-conditioned (essentially) isotropic Gaussian design matrices, where Lasso is known to behave well in the identifiable regime, we show hardness of outputting any good solution in the unidentifiable regime where there are many solutions, assuming the worst-case hardness of standard and well-studied lattice problems.

2024

TCC

Indistinguishability Obfuscation from Bilinear Maps and LPN Variants
Abstract

We construct an indistinguishability obfuscation (IO) scheme from the sub-exponential hardness of the decisional linear problem on bilinear maps together with two variants of the learning parity with noise (LPN) problem, namely large-field LPN and (binary-field) sparse LPN. This removes the need to assume the existence of polynomial-stretch PRGs in $\mathsf{NC}^0$ from the state-of-the-art construction of IO (Jain, Lin, and Sahai, EUROCRYPT 2022). As an intermediate step in our construction, we abstract away a notion of structured-seed polynomial-stretch PRGs in $\mathsf{NC}^0$ which is implied by both sparse LPN and the existence of polynomial-stretch PRGs in $\mathsf{NC}^0$.
As immediate applications, from the sub-exponential hardness of the decisional linear assumption on bilinear groups, large-field LPN, and sparse LPN, we get alternative constructions of (a) FHE without lattices or circular security assumptions (Canetti, Lin, Tessaro, and Vaikuntanathan, TCC 2015), and (b) perfect zero-knowledge adaptively-sound Succinct Non-interactive Arguments (SNARGs) for NP (Waters and Wu, STOC 2024).

2023

CRYPTO

MacORAMa: Optimal Oblivious RAM with Integrity
Abstract

Oblivious RAM (ORAM), introduced by Goldreich and Ostrovsky (J. ACM `96), is a primitive that allows a client to perform RAM computations on an external database without revealing any information through the access pattern. For a database of size $N$, well-known lower bounds show that a multiplicative overhead of $\Omega(\log N)$ in the number of RAM queries is necessary assuming $O(1)$ client storage. A long sequence of works culminated in the asymptotically optimal construction of Asharov, Komargodski, Lin, and Shi (CRYPTO `21) with $O(\log N)$ worst-case overhead and $O(1)$ client storage. However, this optimal ORAM is known to be secure only in the \emph{honest-but-curious} setting, where an adversary is allowed to observe the access patterns but not modify the contents of the database. In the \emph{malicious} setting, where an adversary is additionally allowed to tamper with the database, this construction and many others in fact become insecure.
In this work, we construct the first maliciously secure ORAM with worst-case $O(\log N)$ overhead and $O(1)$ client storage assuming one-way functions, which are also necessary. By the $\Omega(\log N)$ lower bound, our construction is asymptotically optimal. To attain this overhead, we develop techniques to intricately interleave online and offline memory checking for malicious security. Furthermore, we complement our positive result by showing the impossibility of a \emph{generic} overhead-preserving compiler from honest-but-curious to malicious security, barring a breakthrough in memory checking.

#### Coauthors

- Aparna Gupte (1)
- Surya Mathialagan (1)
- Seyoon Ragavan (1)
- Neekon Vafa (3)
- Vinod Vaikuntanathan (2)