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Analysis of Privacy-preserving Network Traffic Tunneling

David M. Nicol
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Monday, April 21, 2008
Lally 104 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Refreshments at 10:30 a.m.


Encrypted protocols are becoming more prevalent because of the growing use of e-commerce, anonymity services, and secure authentication. Likewise, traffic analysis is becoming more common because it is the only way to analyze encrypted communications. Though there are many valid uses for traffic analysis (such as network policy enforcement and intrusion detection), it can also be used to maliciously compromise the secrecy or privacy of a user. While payload can be strongly protected by encryption, analysis of traffic patterns can yield information about the type and nature of traffic. In this talk we use simulation and an analytic model to examine the impact on user experience of a scheme that masks the behavior of real traffic by embedding it in synthetic, encrypted, cover traffic. The analytic model is validated, and results derived placing bounds on slowdown of response time due to tunneling, and sufficient conditions for queuing stability of the system. Of particular interest is the fact that parameters needed by the analytic model can be estimated from network data or simulations that is independent of the tunneling mechanism.


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Last updated: PH13