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Cloud storage services commonly use deduplication, which eliminates redundant data by storing only a single copy of each file or block. Deduplication reduces the space and bandwidth requirements of data storage services, and is most effective when applied across multiple users, a common practice by cloud storage offerings. The authors study the privacy implications of cross-user deduplication. They demonstrate how deduplication can be used as a side channel which reveals information about the contents of files of other users. In a different scenario, deduplication can be used as a covert channel by which malicious software can communicate with its control center, regardless of any firewall settings at the attacked machine.
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