The Zenith attack: vulnerabilities and countermeasures
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Citation (published version)Skowyra, Richard; Bestavros, Azer; Goldberg, Sharon. "The Zenith Attack: Vulnerabilities and Countermeasures", Technical Report BUCS-TR-2011-015, Computer Science Department, Boston University, May 15, 2011. [Available from: http://hdl.handle.net/2144/11372]
In this paper we identify and define Zenith attacks, a new class of attacks on content-distribution systems, which seek to expose the popularity (i.e. access frequency) of individual items of content. As the access pattern to most real-world content exhibits Zipf-like characteristics, there is a small set of dominating items which account for the majority of accesses. Identifying such items enables an adversary to perform follow up adversarial actions targeting these items, including mounting denial of service attacks, deploying censorship mechanisms, and eavesdropping on or prosecution of the host or recipient. We instantiate a Zenith attack on the Kademlia and Chord structured overlay networks and quantify the cost of such an attack. As a countermeasure to these attacks we propose Crypsis, a system to conceal the lookup frequency of individual keys through aggregation over ranges of the keyspace. Crypsis provides provable security guarantees for concealment of lookup frequency while maintaining logarithmic routing and state bounds.