Raluca Ada Popa

Raluca Ada Popa

Assistant professor, UC Berkeley
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
UC Berkeley
Address: 729 Soda Hall, Berkeley, CA, 94720
Email: raluca AT eecs DOT berkeley DOT edu

I have just started as an assistant professor at UC Berkeley. I am interested in security, systems, and applied cryptography.

Before joining UC Berkeley, I did a one-year postdoc at ETH Zürich in the System Security group led by Prof. Srdjan Capkun. Before that, I completed my Ph.D. in computer science at MIT. My advisor was Professor Nickolai Zeldovich, and I have also been fortunate to work with: Professor Hari Balakrishnan (in systems), Professor Shafi Goldwasser, Dr. Yael Kalai, and Professor Vinod Vaikuntanathan (in cryptography) during graduate school. I earned my Masters of Engineering in Computer Science in 2010 and my two Bachelors in Computer Science and Mathematics in 2009 from MIT.

During my Ph.D, I built systems that protect data confidentiality against powerful server-side adversaries, such as cloud insiders or attackers gaining access to the data stored on servers. My approach is to have servers store, process, and compute over encrypted data, and my work combines new systems techniques with new cryptographic schemes. In this setting, I built practical systems such as a database system (CryptDB), a web application platform (Mylar), mobile systems (VPriv and PrivStats), and a cloud storage system (CloudProof).



Undergraduate years:



A few companies or organizations used or adopted CryptDB, or were inspired by CryptDB. Most of these companies got in touch with us and gave credit to CryptDB.

SAP AG's system SEEED
SAP AG developed a system called SEEED, which implements CryptDB's design on top of their HANA database system. SEEED uses most of the building blocks of CryptDB as well as the adjustable encryption (onion) strategy. Here are some references: Project SEEED, white paper.

Google's Encrypted BigQuery
Google has developed an experimental extension of the BigQuery client, known as Encrypted BigQuery, which was informed and motivated by the CryptDB paper. It offers client-side encryption for a subset of query types, using encryption building blocks similar to the RND, HOM, and DET used in CryptDB. Their code is available here.

Lincoln Laboratory
Lincoln Labs added the CryptDB design on top of their D4M Accumulo no-SQL engine (using the RND, DET, OPE and HOM building blocks).
Microsoft's Always Encrypted SQL Server Microsoft's Always Encrypted SQL Server enables administrators to encrypt columns with RND and DET. Before this service, the database in the SQL Server was in plaintext during processing. Some applications can support a lot of fields with RND and a set of other fields with DET, thus giving a significant security increase as compared to no encryption for these fields. The service is now distributed as part of the SQL Server. The authors of Microsoft's Cipherbase system led this effort; Cipherbase is a successor of CryptDB which enhances CryptDB with trusted hardware support for queries not supported on encryption.

Skyhigh Networks
Skyhigh networks seems to be using most of the encryption building blocks in CryptDB. Skyhigh discusses these schemes here.

sql.mit.edu is a SQL server at MIT hosting many MIT-ran applications. Volunteering users of Wordpress switched to running Wordpress through CryptDB, using our source code.

Startups based on CryptDB
Privic, a startup in Silicon Valley, and Cryptonor, a startup in Europe, are both based on CryptDB's design. CryptonorDB targets no-SQL databases.
All the companies above except two have been in touch with us already and confirmed the relationship of their system to CryptDB. We have not yet been in touch with Skyhigh networks and Microsoft's Always Encrypted team.

Mylar was used for a medical application:
Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Boston
The endometriosis medical application of this hospital is a web application that collects private information from patients suffering from the disease endometriosis. It was secured with Mylar. The application, together with Mylar, obtained approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB).



Functional encryption:
Securing the cloud. Larry Hardesty, MIT news (frontpage), June 2013.



Technical reports



CS 261: Security in Computer Systems, graduate level, Fall 2015

I am originally from Sibiu, a medieval town in the southern part of Transylvania in Romania somewhere close to Dracula's castle...

I enjoy long-distance running, nature, and people.