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Privacy-Implications of Performance-Based Peer Selection by Onion-Routers: A Real-World Case Study using I2P

TitlePrivacy-Implications of Performance-Based Peer Selection by Onion-Routers: A Real-World Case Study using I2P
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsHerrmann, M, Grothoff, C
Refereed DesignationRefereed
Conference NamePrivacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium (PETS 2011)
Date Published04/2011
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Conference LocationWaterloo, Canada
Keywordsanonymity, attack, Guard, I2P, onion routing

I2P is one of the most widely used anonymizing Peer-to-Peer networks on the Internet today. Like Tor, it uses onion routing to build tunnels between peers as the basis for providing anonymous communication channels. Unlike Tor, I2P integrates a range of anonymously hosted services directly with the platform. This paper presents a new attack on the I2P Peer-to-Peer network, with the goal
of determining the identity of peers that are anonymously hosting HTTP services (Eepsite) in the network.

Key design choices made by I2P developers, in particular
performance-based peer selection, enable a sophisticated adversary with modest resources to break key security assumptions. Our attack first obtains an estimate of the victim's view of the network. Then, the adversary selectively targets a small number of peers used by the
victim with a denial-of-service attack while giving the victim the opportunity to replace those peers with other peers that are controlled by the adversary. Finally, the adversary performs some simple measurements to determine the identity of the peer hosting the service.

This paper provides the necessary background on I2P, gives details on the attack --- including experimental data from measurements against the actual I2P network --- and discusses possible solutions.

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