Timing Analysis in Low-Latency Mix Networks: Attacks and Defenses

  • Vitaly Shmatikov
  • Ming-Hsiu Wang
Conference paper

DOI: 10.1007/11863908_2

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4189)
Cite this paper as:
Shmatikov V., Wang MH. (2006) Timing Analysis in Low-Latency Mix Networks: Attacks and Defenses. In: Gollmann D., Meier J., Sabelfeld A. (eds) Computer Security – ESORICS 2006. ESORICS 2006. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 4189. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg

Abstract

Mix networks are a popular mechanism for anonymous Internet communications. By routing IP traffic through an overlay chain of mixes, they aim to hide the relationship between its origin and destination. Using a realistic model of interactive Internet traffic, we study the problem of defending low-latency mix networks against attacks based on correlating inter-packet intervals on two or more links of the mix chain. We investigate several attack models, including an active attack which involves adversarial modification of packet flows in order to “fingerprint” them, and analyze the tradeoffs between the amount of cover traffic, extra latency, and anonymity properties of the mix network. We demonstrate that previously proposed defenses are either ineffective, or impose a prohibitively large latency and/or bandwidth overhead on communicating applications. We propose a new defense based on adaptive padding.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vitaly Shmatikov
    • 1
  • Ming-Hsiu Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of Texas at Austin 

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