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The Loopix Anonymity System

Piotrowska, A; Hayes, J; Elahi, T; Meiser, S; Danezis, G; The Loopix Anonymity System.

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Abstract

We present Loopix, a low-latency anonymous communication system that provides bi-directional 'third-party' sender and receiver anonymity and unobservability. Loopix leverages cover traffic and brief message delays to provide anonymity and achieve traffic analysis resistance, including against a global network adversary. Mixes and clients self-monitor the network via loops of traffic to provide protection against active attacks, and inject cover traffic to provide stronger anonymity and a measure of sender and receiver unobservability. Service providers mediate access in and out of a stratified network of Poisson mix nodes to facilitate accounting and off-line message reception, as well as to keep the number of links in the system low, and to concentrate cover traffic. We provide a theoretical analysis of the Poisson mixing strategy as well as an empirical evaluation of the anonymity provided by the protocol and a functional implementation that we analyze in terms of scalability by running it on AWS EC2. We show that a Loopix relay can handle upwards of 300 messages per second, at a small delay overhead of less than 1.5 ms on top of the delays introduced into messages to provide security. Overall message latency is in the order of seconds - which is low for a mix-system. Furthermore, many mix nodes can be securely added to a stratified topology to scale throughput without sacrificing anonymity.

Type: Article
Title: The Loopix Anonymity System
Keywords: cs.CR, cs.CR
UCL classification: UCL > School of BEAMS
UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1544712
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