Peer-to-Peer Networking and Applications

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 265–276 | Cite as

Stealth modification versus nuisance attacks in the LOCKSS peer-to-peer digital preservation system

  • Mema Roussopoulos
  • Prashanth Bungale


The LOCKSS system is a world-wide peer-to-peer system for the preservation of academic journals and other archival information published on the Web. The system is deployed at over 200 libraries around the world and currently preserving titles of publishers representing more than 2000 academic titles. It consists of a large number of independent, low-cost, persistent Web caches that cooperate to detect and repair damage to their content by voting in “opinion polls.” Based on our experience working with the LOCKSS system, in this paper, we identify and characterize a fundamental tradeoff in the system’s ability to defend against adversaries with competing goals. In particular, the techniques used to defend against adversaries attempting stealth modification of content being preserved in the system are at odds with those used to identify nuisance adversaries simply trying to disrupt system procedures. We show that with a simple change to the design of the system’s preservation protocol we are able to create moderately strong defense against both of these competing adversaries simultaneously.


Digital preservation Peer-to-peer networks Security 



The work presented here has benefited greatly from discussions with Mary Baker, T.J. Giuli, Geoffrey Goodell, Rachel Greenstadt, Petros Maniatis, Bryan Parno, David S. H. Rosenthal, and Margo Seltzer. We thank them for their invaluable feedback. This research has been supported by the National Science Foundation (Grant No. 0446522).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Informatics and TelecommunicationsUniversity of AthensAthensGreece
  2. 2.School of Engineering and Applied SciencesHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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