1. bookVolume 2020 (2020): Issue 3 (July 2020)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
First Published
16 Apr 2015
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English
access type Open Access

Scaling Up Anonymous Communication with Efficient Nanopayment Channels

Published Online: 17 Aug 2020
Page range: 175 - 203
Received: 30 Nov 2019
Accepted: 16 Mar 2020
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
First Published
16 Apr 2015
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English

Tor, the most widely used and well-studied traffic anonymization network in the world, suffers from limitations in its network diversity and performance. We propose to mitigate both problems simultaneously through the introduction of a premium bandwidth market between clients and relays. To this end, we present moneTor: incentivizing nodes to join and support Tor by giving them anonymous payments from Tor users. Our approach uses efficient cryptographic nanopayments delivered alongside regular Tor traffic. Our approach also gives a degree of centralized control, allowing Tor’s managers to shape the economy created by these payments. In this paper, we present a novel payment algorithm as well as a data-driven simulation and evaluation of its costs and benefits. The results show that moneTor is both feasible and flexible, offering upwards of 100% improvements in differentiated bandwidth for paying users with near-optimal throughput and latency overheads.

Keywords

[1] R. Dingledine, N. Mathewson, and P. Syverson, “Tor: The second generation onion router,” in Usenix Security, 2004.Search in Google Scholar

[2] “Tor Performance Metrics,” metrics.torproject.org, accessed: 2018.Search in Google Scholar

[3] M. K. Wright, M. Adler, B. N. Levine, and C. Shields, “The predecessor attack: An analysis of a threat to anonymous communications systems,” ACM Transactions on Information and System Security (TISSEC), vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 489–522, 2004.Search in Google Scholar

[4] S. J. Murdoch and G. Danezis, “Low-cost traffic analysis of Tor,” in Security and Privacy, 2005 IEEE Symposium on. IEEE, 2005, pp. 183–195.Search in Google Scholar

[5] M. AlSabah and I. Goldberg, “Performance and security improvements for Tor: A survey,” ACM Computing Surveys (CSUR), vol. 49, no. 2, p. 32, 2016.Search in Google Scholar

[6] J. Reardon and I. Goldberg, “Improving Tor using a TCPover- DTLS tunnel,” in Proceedings of the 18th conference on USENIX security symposium. USENIX Association, 2009, pp. 119–134.Search in Google Scholar

[7] R. Jansen, J. Geddes, C. Wacek, M. Sherr, and P. F. Syverson, “Never Been KIST: Tor’s Congestion Management Blossoms with Kernel-Informed Socket Transport,” in USENIX Security Symposium, 2014, pp. 127–142.Search in Google Scholar

[8] T. Crump et al., The Phenomenon of Money (Routledge Revivals). Routledge, 2011.Search in Google Scholar

[9] C. Dovrolis and P. Ramanathan, “A case for relative differentiated services and the proportional differentiation model,” IEEE network, vol. 13, no. 5, pp. 26–34, 1999.Search in Google Scholar

[10] C. Tang and I. Goldberg, “An improved algorithm for Tor circuit scheduling,” in Proceedings of the 17th ACM conference on Computer and communications security. ACM, 2010, pp. 329–339.Search in Google Scholar

[11] “Account holding monetor code,” https://github.com/monetor, 2018.Search in Google Scholar

[12] X. Fu, Z. Ling, J. Luo, W. Yu, W. Jia, and W. Zhao, “One cell is enough to break Tor’s anonymity,” in Proceedings of Black Hat Technical Security Conference, 2009, pp. 578–589.Search in Google Scholar

[13] F. Rochet and O. Pereira, “Dropping on the Edge: Flexibility and Traffic Confirmation in Onion Routing Protocols,” Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies, vol. 2018, no. 2, pp. 27–46, 2018.Search in Google Scholar

[14] M. AlSabah, K. Bauer, I. Goldberg, D. Grunwald, D. McCoy, S. Savage, and G. Voelker, “DefenestraTor: Throwing out Windows in Tor,” in Proceedings of the 11th Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium (PETS 2011), July 2011.Search in Google Scholar

[15] F. Tschorsch and B. Scheuermann, “Mind the gap: Towards a backpressure-based transport protocol for the Tor network,” in Proceedings of the 13th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI ’16), Santa Clara, CA, Mar. 2016.Search in Google Scholar

[16] “Blockchain info,” https://blockchain.info/stats, 2018, accessed: April 2018.Search in Google Scholar

[17] J. Poon and T. Dryja, “The Bitcoin lightning network: Scalable off-chain instant payments,” draft version 0.5, vol. 9, p. 14, 2016.Search in Google Scholar

[18] E. Heilman, L. Alshenibr, F. Baldimtsi, A. Scafuro, and S. Goldberg, “Tumblebit: An untrusted Bitcoin-compatible anonymous payment hub,” in Network and Distributed System Security Symposium, 2017.Search in Google Scholar

[19] G. Malavolta, P. Moreno-Sanchez, A. Kate, M. Maffei, and S. Ravi, “Concurrency and privacy with payment-channel networks,” in Proceedings of the 2017 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security. ACM, 2017, pp. 455–471.Search in Google Scholar

[20] M. Green and I. Miers, “Bolt: Anonymous payment channels for decentralized currencies,” in Proceedings of the 2017 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security. ACM, 2017, pp. 473–489.Search in Google Scholar

[21] S. Nakamoto, “Bitcoin: A peer-to-peer electronic cash system,” URL: https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.221.9986&rep=rep1&type=pdf, 2008.Search in Google Scholar

[22] S. A. Crosby and D. S. Wallach, “Efficient Data Structures For Tamper-Evident Logging,” in USENIX Security Symposium, 2009, pp. 317–334.Search in Google Scholar

[23] G. Danezis and S. Meiklejohn, “Centrally banked cryptocurrencies,” Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies, 2016.Search in Google Scholar

[24] R. L. Rivest and A. Shamir, “PayWord and MicroMint: Two simple micropayment schemes,” in International workshop on security protocols. Springer, 1996, pp. 69–87.Search in Google Scholar

[25] E. B. Sasson, A. Chiesa, C. Garman, M. Green, I. Miers, E. Tromer, and M. Virza, “Zerocash: Decentralized anonymous payments from Bitcoin,” in Security and Privacy (SP), 2014 IEEE Symposium on. IEEE, 2014, pp. 459–474.Search in Google Scholar

[26] A. Back, M. Corallo, L. Dashjr, M. Friedenbach, G. Maxwell, A. Miller, A. Poelstra, J. Timon, and P. Wuille, “Enabling Blockchain Innovations with Pegged Sidechains,” URL: https://blockstream.com/sidechains.pdf, 2014.Search in Google Scholar

[27] J. Poon and V. Buterin, “Plasma: Scalable Autonomous Smart Contracts,” White paper, 2017.Search in Google Scholar

[28] F. Rochet and O. Pereira, “Waterfilling: Balancing the Tor network with maximum diversity,” Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies, vol. 2017, no. 2, April 2017.Search in Google Scholar

[29] A. Johnson, R. Jansen, A. D. Jaggard, J. Feigenbaum, and P. Syverson, “Avoiding the man on the wire: Improving Tor’s security with trust-aware path selection,” in Proceedings of the Network and Distributed Security Symposium - NDSS ’17. Internet Society, February 2017.Search in Google Scholar

[30] C. Kiraly, R. Dingledine, G. Bianchi, R. Lo Cigno, and A. M. Scattolo, “Effect of Tor window size on performance,” http://archives.seul.org/or/dev/Feb-2009/msg00000.html, 2009.Search in Google Scholar

[31] C. Kiraly, G. Bianchi, and R. Lo Cigno, “Solving performance issues in anonymization overlays with a l3 approach,” URL: http://disi.unitn.it/locigno/preprints/TR-DISI-08-041.pdf, 2008.Search in Google Scholar

[32] R. Jansen and N. Hopper, “Shadow: Running Tor in a Box for Accurate and Efficient Experimentation,” in Proceedings of the Network and Distributed System Security Symposium - NDSS’12. Internet Society, February 2012.Search in Google Scholar

[33] J. Tracey, R. Jansen, and I. Goldberg, “High performance Tor experimentation from the magic of dynamic ELFs,” in 11th USENIX Workshop on Cyber Security Experimentation and Test (CSET 18), 2018.Search in Google Scholar

[34] “HTTP Archive,” https://httparchive.org/, 2018.Search in Google Scholar

[35] R. Jansen and A. Johnson, “Safely Measuring Tor,” in Proceedings of the 23rd ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS ’16), October 2016.Search in Google Scholar

[36] R. Jansen, M. Traudt, and N. Hopper, “Privacy-preserving Dynamic Learning of Tor Network Traffic,” in Proceedings of the 24th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS ’18), November 2018.Search in Google Scholar

[37] R. Dingledine, D. S. Wallach et al., “Building incentives into Tor,” in International Conference on Financial Cryptography and Data Security. Springer, 2010, pp. 238–256.Search in Google Scholar

[38] R. Jansen, N. Hopper, and Y. Kim, “Recruiting new Tor relays with BRAIDS,” in Proceedings of the 17th ACM conference on Computer and communications security. ACM, 2010, pp. 319–328.Search in Google Scholar

[39] R. Jansen, A. Johnson, and P. Syverson, “LIRA: Lightweight incentivized routing for anonymity,” in Proceedings of the 20th Network and Distributed System Security Symposium., 2013.Search in Google Scholar

[40] A. Biryukov and I. Pustogarov, “Proof-of-work as anonymous micropayment: Rewarding a Tor relay,” in International Conference on Financial Cryptography and Data Security. Springer, 2015, pp. 445–455.Search in Google Scholar

[41] R. Jansen, A. Miller, P. Syverson, and B. Ford, “From onions to shallots: Rewarding Tor relays with TEARS,” in 7th Workshop on Hot Topics in Privacy Enhancing Technologies (HotPETs 2014), 2014.Search in Google Scholar

[42] E. Androulaki, M. Raykova, S. Srivatsan, A. Stavrou, and S. M. Bellovin, “PAR: Payment for anonymous routing,” in International Symposium on Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium. Springer, 2008, pp. 219–236.Search in Google Scholar

[43] D. Chaum, A. Fiat, and M. Naor, “Untraceable electronic cash,” in Conference on the Theory and Application of Cryptography. Springer, 1988, pp. 319–327.Search in Google Scholar

[44] Y. Chen, R. Sion, and B. Carbunar, “XPay: Practical anonymous payments for Tor routing and other networked services,” in Proceedings of the 8th ACM workshop on Privacy in the electronic society. ACM, 2009, pp. 41–50.Search in Google Scholar

[45] B. Carbunar, Y. Chen, and R. Sion, “Tipping pennies? privately practical anonymous micropayments,” IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security, vol. 7, no. 5, pp. 1628–1637, 2012.Search in Google Scholar

[46] R. Jansen, “Tor incentives research roundup: Goldstar, PAR, BRAIDS, LIRA, TEARS, and TorCoin,” https://blog.torproject.org/tor-incentives-research-roundupgoldstar-par-braids-lira-tears-and-torcoin, 2014.Search in Google Scholar

[47] U. Gneezy, S. Meier, and P. Rey-Biel, “When and Why Incentives (Don’t) Work to Modify Behavior,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 25, no. 4, pp. 191–210, December 2011.Search in Google Scholar

[48] R. Bénabou and J. Tirole, “Incentives and Prosocial Behavior,” American Economic Review, vol. 96, no. 5, pp. 1652–1678, December 2006.Search in Google Scholar

[49] J. R. Behrman, P. Sengupta, and P. Todd, “Progressing through progresa: An impact assessment of a school subsidy experiment in rural mexico,” Economic Development and Cultural Change, vol. 54, no. 1, pp. 237–275, 2005. [Online]. Available: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/431263Search in Google Scholar

[50] T.-N. Dinh, “Universal basic philanthropy: A scalable model to democratize social impact,” https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3503969, 2020.Search in Google Scholar

[51] L. Daigle, “WHOIS protocol specification,” URL: https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc3912, 2004.Search in Google Scholar

[52] S. Williamson and M. Kosters, “Referral whois protocol (rwhois),” URL: https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc3912, 1994.Search in Google Scholar

[53] “Tor research safety board,” https://research.torproject.org/safetyboard.html, 2018, members: https://research.torproject.org/safetyboard.html#who.Search in Google Scholar

[54] M. Green and I. Miers, “Bolt: Anonymous payment channels for decentralized currencies,” https://eprint.iacr.org/2016/701, 2016.Search in Google Scholar

[55] R. Jansen, M. Traudt, J. Geddes, C. Wacek, M. Sherr, and P. Syverson, “KIST: Kernel-Informed Socket Transport for Tor,” ACM Transactions on Privacy and Security (TOPS), vol. 22, no. 1, p. 3, 2018.Search in Google Scholar

[56] R. Dingledine and S. J. Murdoch, “Performance improvements on Tor or, why Tor is slow and what we’re going to do about it,” Online: http://www.torproject.org/press/presskit/2009-03-11-performance.pdf, 2009.Search in Google Scholar

[57] R. Jansen, “BRAIDS github repository,” https://github.com/robgjansen/braids-tor-simulator, 2010.Search in Google Scholar

[58] R. Dingledine and N. Mathewson, “Tor directory specifications,” https://gitweb.torproject.org/torspec.git/tree/dirspec.txt, accessed: February 2019.Search in Google Scholar

[59] F. Rochet and O. Pereira, “Waterfilling proposal,” https://github.com/frochet/wf_proposal, 2017.Search in Google Scholar

Recommended articles from Trend MD

Plan your remote conference with Sciendo