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  1. TEE-based smart contracts are an emerging blockchain architecture, offering fully programmable privacy with better performance than alternatives like secure multiparty computation. They can also support compatibility with existing smart contract languages, such that existing (plaintext) applications can be readily ported, picking up privacy enhancements automatically. While previous analysis of TEE-based smart contracts have focused on failures of TEE itself, we asked whether other aspects might be understudied. We focused on state consistency, a concern area highlighted by Li et al., as well as new concerns including access pattern leakage and software upgrade mechanisms. We carried out a code review of a cohort of four TEE-based smart contract platforms. These include Secret Network, the first to market with in-use applications, as well as Oasis, Phala, and Obscuro, which have at least released public test networks.The first and most broadly applicable result is that access pattern leakage occurs when handling persistent contract storage. On Secret Network, its fine-grained access pattern is catastrophic for the transaction privacy of SNIP-20 tokens. If ERC-20 tokens were naively ported to Oasis they would be similarly vulnerable; the others in the cohort leak coarse-grained information at approximately the page level (4 kilobytes). Improving and characterizing this will require adopting techniques from ORAMs or encrypted databases.Second, the importance of state consistency has been underappreciated, in part because exploiting such vulnerabilities is thought to be impractical. We show they are fully practical by building a proof-of-concept tool that breaks all advertised privacy properties of SNIP-20 tokens, able to query the balance of individual accounts and the token amount of each transfer. We additionally demonstrate MEV attacks against the Sienna Swap application. As a final consequence of lacking state consistency, the developers have inadvertently introduced a decryption backdoor through their software upgrade process. We have helped the Secret developers mitigate this through a coordinated vulnerability disclosure, after which their state consistency should be roughly on par with the rest.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2025
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 9, 2024
  3. As one of the most pervasive applications of machine learning, recommender systems are playing an important role on assisting human decision making. The satisfaction of users and the interests of platforms are closely related to the quality of the generated recommendation results. However, as a highly data-driven system, recommender system could be affected by data or algorithmic bias and thus generate unfair results, which could weaken the reliance of the systems. As a result, it is crucial to address the potential unfairness problems in recommendation settings. Recently, there has been growing attention on fairness considerations in recommender systems with more and more literature on approaches to promote fairness in recommendation. However, the studies are rather fragmented and lack a systematic organization, thus making it difficult to penetrate for new researchers to the domain. This motivates us to provide a systematic survey of existing works on fairness in recommendation. This survey focuses on the foundations for fairness in recommendation literature. It first presents a brief introduction about fairness in basic machine learning tasks such as classification and ranking in order to provide a general overview of fairness research, as well as introduce the more complex situations and challenges that need to be considered when studying fairness in recommender systems. After that, the survey will introduce fairness in recommendation with a focus on the taxonomies of current fairness definitions, the typical techniques for improving fairness, as well as the datasets for fairness studies in recommendation. The survey also talks about the challenges and opportunities in fairness research with the hope of promoting the fair recommendation research area and beyond. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
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