The Silence of the LANs: Efficient Leakage Resilience for IPsec VPNs (full version)

AuthorSadeghi, Ahmad-Reza; Schulz, Steffen; Varadharajan, Vijay
AbstractVirtual Private Networks (VPNs) are increasingly used to build logically isolated networks. However, existing VPN designs and deployments neglect the problem of traffic analysis and covert channels. Hence, there are many ways to infer information from VPN traffic with- out decrypting it. Many proposals were made to mitigate network covert channels, but previous works remained largely theoretical or resulted in prohibitively high padding overhead and performance penalties. In this work, we (1) analyse the impact of covert channels in IPsec, (2) present several improved and novel approaches for covert channel mit- igation in IPsec, (3) propose and implement a system for dynamic perfor- mance trade-offs, and (4) implement our design in the Linux IPsec stack and evaluate its performance for different types of traffic and mitigation policies. At only 24% overhead, our prototype enforces tight information- theoretic bounds on all information leakage.