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Design and Implementation of a Censorship Resistant and Fully Decentralized Name System

TitleDesign and Implementation of a Censorship Resistant and Fully Decentralized Name System
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsSchanzenbach, M
AdvisorGrothoff, C, Wachs, M
Academic DepartmentFakultaet fuer Informatik
DegreeM.Sc.
Number of Pages116
Date Published09/2012
UniversityTU Munich
CityGarching bei Muenchen
Thesis TypeMaster's
Keywordscensorship resistance, decentralized, DNS, GNU Name System, GNUnet
Abstract

This thesis presents the design and implementation of the GNU Alternative Domain System (GADS), a decentralized, secure name system providing memorable names for the Internet as an alternative to the Domain Name System (DNS). The system builds on ideas from Rivest's Simple Distributed Security Infrastructure (SDSI) to address a central issue with providing a decentralized mapping of secure identifiers to memorable names: providing a global, secure and memorable mapping is impossible without a trusted authority. SDSI offers an alternative by linking local name spaces; GADS uses the transitivity provided by the SDSI design to build a decentralized and censorship resistant name system without a trusted root based on secure delegation of authority.

Additional details need to be considered in order to enable GADS to integrate smoothly with the World Wide Web. While following links on the Web matches following delegations in GADS, the existing HTTP-based infrastructure makes many assumptions about globally unique names; however, proxies can be used to enable legacy applications to function with GADS.

This work presents the fundamental goals and ideas behind GADS, provides technical details on how GADS has been implemented and discusses deployment issues for using GADS with existing systems. We discuss how GADS and legacy DNS can interoperate during a transition period and what additional security advantages GADS offers over DNS with Security Extensions (DNSSEC). Finally, we present the results of a survey into surfing behavior, which suggests that the manual introduction of new direct links in GADS will be infrequent.

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