Cover Traffic: A Trade of Anonymity and Efficiency

AuthorGrube, Tim; Thummerer, Markus; Daubert, Jörg; Mühlhäuser, Max
TypeConference Proceedings
AbstractCommunication is ubiquitous in societies, more and more devices participate in communication processes, as in for example the Internet of Things.&nbsp;<br />Due to the proximity to their users and the omnipresence of the communication itself, communication is sensitive w.r.t. to anonymity as even the process of communication can disclose information about the content of a communication. Anonymity gains more and more importance in the development of communication services.&nbsp;<br />Thus, anonymity in communication systems is a desired property in many scenarios, allowing to communicate without someone having the ability to attribute the communication to its senders and recipients.&nbsp;<br />However, sender anonymity, i.e., communication without having an identifiable source of information, is a hard goal and the only viable option to achieve it is cover traffic. Cover traffic blends communication in random noise. However, the generation of this noise degrades the efficiency of the system, in a worst case producing two times the number of connections messages to send just a single message.&nbsp;<br />Cover traffic as a technique is hardly understood and analyzed. For that, we derived a model of cover traffic with four parameters to vary the generation of noise in location, spread and time to achieve a better understanding of cover traffic. We analyze the impact of varying parameters on anonymity by computing the remaining cover and on efficiency by computing the noise to content ratio. Our results indicate that cover traffic can be generated in a more efficient way while anonymity is preserved on a reasonable level, yet, the parametrization randomizes the participation allowing to diminish anonymity in the long run.
Conference13th International Workshop on Security and Trust Management
SerieLecture Notes in Computer Science
InSecurity and Trust Management. STM 2017., p.213-223