Monday, April 16, 2012

DPI Challenge: Obfuscation for Tor Bridges Traffic

 
Article by Hooman Mohajeri Moghaddam, Baiyu Li, Mohammad Derakhshani, and Ian Goldberg (pictured) from Cheriton School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo proposes a way ".. preventing censors from detecting the bridges by observing the communications between them and nodes in their network".
 
Abstract
 
The Tor network is designed to provide users with low-latency anonymous communications. Tor clients build circuits with publicly listed relays to anonymously reach their destinations. However, since the relays are publicly listed, they can be easily blocked by censoring adversaries. Consequently, the Tor project envisioned the possibility of unlisted entry points to the Tor network, commonly known as bridges. We address the issue of preventing censors from detecting the bridges by observing the communications between them and nodes in their network.

We propose a model in which the client obfuscates its messages to the bridge in a widely used protocol over the Internet. We investigate using Skype video calls as our target protocol and our goal is to make it difficult for the censoring adversary to distinguish between the obfuscated bridge connections and actual Skype calls using statistical comparisons.

We have implemented our model as a proof-of-concept plauggable transport for Tor, which is available under an open-source licence. Using this implementation we observed the obfuscated bridge communications and compared it with those of Skype calls and presented the results.

See "SkypeMorph: Protocol Obfuscation for Tor Bridges" - here.

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