Blindspot : indistinguishable anonymous communications

Gardiner, Joseph and Nagaraja, Shishir (2014) Blindspot : indistinguishable anonymous communications. Working paper. arXiv.org, Ithaca, N.Y..

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    Abstract

    Communication anonymity is a key requirement for individuals under targeted surveillance. Practical anonymous communications also require indistinguishability - an adversary should be unable to distinguish between anonymised and non-anonymised traffic for a given user. We propose Blindspot, a design for high-latency anonymous communications that offers indistinguishability and unobservability under a (qualified) global active adversary. Blindspot creates anonymous routes between sender-receiver pairs by subliminally encoding messages within the pre-existing communication behaviour of users within a social network. Specifically, the organic image sharing behaviour of users. Thus channel bandwidth depends on the intensity of image sharing behaviour of users along a route. A major challenge we successfully overcome is that routing must be accomplished in the face of significant restrictions - channel bandwidth is stochastic. We show that conventional social network routing strategies do not work. To solve this problem, we propose a novel routing algorithm. We evaluate Blindspot using a real-world dataset. We find that it delivers reasonable results for applications requiring low-volume unobservable communication.