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Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security

Understanding Network Source Concealment

Tom Daniels - CERIAS

Oct 31, 2001


Both conventional and anonymity-oriented networks allow users to create traffic in such a way that determining its source is difficult. Although a significant amount of work has been devoted to developing anonymity-oriented networks, little work has addressed explaining their general mechanisms. In conventional networks, a great deal of work has focused on authentication and to a lesser extent determining the source of attacks and other traffic, but little work addresses greater understanding of the network features that facilitate or allow source concealed traffic.

In this talk, we describe a model of networks that unifies the source concealment features of conventional networks and the anonymity systems that run over them. The model discusses the observable features of network traffic and describes their role in correlating traffic to its source. We also describe the types of network mechanisms used to conceal and obscure these features. We then discuss an entropy-based measure of effectiveness of source concealment systems. The model is then applied to a number of source concealment systems to evaluate the model.

About the Speaker

Tom Daniels is a Ph.D. Student in Computer Science at Purdue University. He is currently Gene Spafford's senior student working on issues of network forensics. Tom received his M.S. in Computer Science from Purdue in 1999 and his B.S. in Computer Science from Southwest Missouri State University in 1995. His research interests include network and host security especially intrusion detection.

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