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Re: [tor-talk] Scaling Tor

isis transcribed 6.8K bytes:
> Mike Fikuart transcribed 4.8K bytes:
> > Thanks Virgil.  I wasnât directly what I was after; however it was an informative read and as with this subject grows the background knowledge that will come to use in the future.  I did get an interesting link from Johan Pouweise on scalability that his students published this year http://arxiv.org/abs/1404.4818, which gives a good overview of the dilemma of decentralisation (FYI).
> > 
> > A question raised in Tor-Design (section 9) is, "if clients can no longer have a complete picture of the network, how can they perform discovery while preventing attackers from manipulating or exploiting gaps in their knowledge?â.  If the network were to be considered to scale up to significant number of all Internet users, could it be that the Directory Authority(Ies) release (to Directory Caches and clients) a uniform, random sample of relays/nodes from the FULL set of nodes, such that the randomness of the path selection is still maintained.  The random selection could be sampled on a per client basis with enough of a sample as is currently downloaded (6000 relays).  What this means is that each client (or possibly groupings of clients) is getting a different âviewâ of the network, but there would need to be a scaling down from the full set to the sample set at some point before the client.  Any thoughts on the idea?
> >  
> > Yours sincerely
> >  
> > Mike Fikuart 
> > 
> This is an interesting idea. Variants using random walks through nodes which
> only know a random subset of other nodes have been proposed before, e.g.
> MorphMix. [0]
> However, it should be impossible to verify that a given sequence is, in fact,
> random, rather than being a sequence in seeded such a way that it is
> predictable, or an encrypted sequence, etc. The biggest concern with improving
> Tor's scalability via handing out random samples of nodes from the consensus
> would then be that malicious Directories (whether Authorties or simply
> mirrors) could collude to hand out predictable subsets of relays to some/all
> clients.
> Further, even if we could verify that a given sample was truly random, and we
> checked the results for some subset of clients, this would not prohibit
> certain clients from being lied to. I would argue that the security of the
> group of all Tor clients is only as good as the worst case scenario, i.e. any
> mechanism which would allow a single client to subjet to targeted attacks is
> an attack against all.
> Nicholas Hopper and Nikita Borisov are two of the more significant researchers
> who explore scaling specifically for Tor and/or onion routing in general.
> Perhaps some of the following may help give you an idea of the extant research
> in this area:
> For a more detailed explanation of why random subsets of nodes cannot be used
> to securely pick an unbiased path (more specifically, why we won't use most
> DHT algorithms, or the Salsa/Cashmere DHT-overlays), see "Hashing it out in
> Public". [1]
> For an interesting proposal for using some specific DHT algorithms which claim
> to keep maintain the current levels of security while providing better
> scalability, see the Torsk paper. [2]
> And for a Private Information Retrieval (PIR) based approach (admittedly, I
> haven't read it yet, but it's been on my reading list for a while!), which,
> like other PIR systems would permit DHT-like queries albeit without the
> Directory being able to know what is being looked up, see the PIR-Tor
> paper. [3] However, I think I recall from my skimming that the lookups
> produced *routes*, not nodes... which is worrisome for another set of reasons.
> [0]: M. Rennhard and B. Plattner.
>  "Introducing MorphMix: Peer-to-peer based anonymous internet usage with collusion detection."
>  In ACM Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society (WPES 2002),
>  pp. 91â102. ACM, 2002.
> [1]: Tran, Andrew, Nicholas Hopper, and Yongdae Kim.
>   "Hashing it out in public: common failure modes of DHT-based anonymity schemes."
>   In Proceedings of the 8th ACM workshop on Privacy in the electronic society,
>   pp. 71-80. ACM, 2009.
>   http://www.cs.umn.edu/~hopper/hashing_it_out.pdf
> [2]: McLachlan, Jon, Andrew Tran, Nicholas Hopper, and Yongdae Kim.
>   "Scalable onion routing with Torsk."
>   In Proceedings of the 16th ACM conference on Computer and communications security,
>   pp. 590-599. ACM, 2009.
>   https://www-users.cs.umn.edu/~hopper/torsk-ccs.pdf
> [3]: Mittal, Prateek, Femi G. Olumofin, Carmela Troncoso, Nikita Borisov, and Ian Goldberg.
>   "PIR-Tor: Scalable Anonymous Communication Using Private Information Retrieval."
>   In USENIX Security Symposium. 2011.
>   http://cacr.uwaterloo.ca/techreports/2011/cacr2011-05.pdf

I've just realised that my brain must have been sourcing Andrew's post without
telling me, because I just cited all the same papers as Andrew did [0] over a
year ago. BTW, if anyone has found/written more recent, worthwhile papers on
this topic, we'd love to hear about them!

[0]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-talk/2013-January/027179.html

 ââ isis agora lovecruft
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