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  1. Recent website fingerprinting attacks have been shown to achieve very high performance against traffic through Tor. These attacks allow an adversary to deduce the website a Tor user has visited by simply eavesdropping on the encrypted communication. This has consequently motivated the development of many defense strategies that obfuscate traffic through the addition of dummy packets and/or delays. The efficacy and practicality of many of these recent proposals have yet to be scrutinized in detail. In this study, we re-evaluate nine recent defense proposals that claim to provide adequate security with low-overheads using the latest Deep Learning-based attacks. Furthermore, we assess the feasibility of implementing these defenses within the current confines of Tor. To this end, we additionally provide the first on-network implementation of the DynaFlow defense to better assess its real-world utility. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024
  2. Recent website fingerprinting attacks have been shown to achieve very high performance against traffic through Tor. These attacks allow an adversary to deduce the website a Tor user has visited by simply eavesdropping on the encrypted communication. This has consequently motivated the development of many defense strategies that obfuscate traffic through the addition of dummy packets and/or delays. The efficacy and practicality of many of these recent proposals have yet to be scrutinized in detail. In this study, we re-evaluate nine recent defense proposals that claim to provide adequate security with low-overheads using the latest Deep Learning-based attacks. Furthermore, we assess the feasibility of implementing these defenses within the current confines of Tor. To this end, we additionally provide the first on-network implementation of the DynaFlow defense to better assess its real-world utility. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
  3. Website fingerprinting is an attack that uses size and timing characteristics of encrypted downloads to identify targeted websites. Since this can defeat the privacy goals of anonymity networks such as Tor, many algorithms to defend against this attack in Tor have been proposed in the literature. These algorithms typically consist of some combination of the injection of dummy "padding'' packets with the delay of actual packets to disrupt timing patterns. For usability reasons, Tor is intended to provide low latency; as such, many authors focus on padding-only defenses in the belief that they are "zero-delay.'' We demonstrate through Shadow simulations that by increasing queue lengths, padding-only defenses add delay when deployed network-wide, so they should not be considered "zero-delay.'' We further argue that future defenses should also be evaluated using network-wide deployment simulations. 
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  4. Abstract Website Fingerprinting (WF) attacks are used by local passive attackers to determine the destination of encrypted internet traffic by comparing the sequences of packets sent to and received by the user to a previously recorded data set. As a result, WF attacks are of particular concern to privacy-enhancing technologies such as Tor. In response, a variety of WF defenses have been developed, though they tend to incur high bandwidth and latency overhead or require additional infrastructure, thus making them difficult to implement in practice. Some lighter-weight defenses have been presented as well; still, they attain only moderate effectiveness against recently published WF attacks. In this paper, we aim to present a realistic and novel defense, RegulaTor, which takes advantage of common patterns in web browsing traffic to reduce both defense overhead and the accuracy of current WF attacks. In the closed-world setting, RegulaTor reduces the accuracy of the state-of-the-art attack, Tik-Tok, against comparable defenses from 66% to 25.4%. To achieve this performance, it requires 6.6% latency overhead and a bandwidth overhead 39.3% less than the leading moderate-overhead defense. In the open-world setting, RegulaTor limits a precision-tuned Tik-Tok attack to an F 1 -score of. 135, compared to .625 for the best comparable defense. 
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  5. End-to-end flow correlation attacks are among the oldest known attacks on low-latency anonymity networks, and are treated as a core primitive for traffic analysis of Tor. However, despite recent work showing that individual flows can be correlated with high accuracy, the impact of even these state-of-the-art attacks is questionable due to a central drawback: their pairwise nature, requiring comparison between N2 pairs of flows to deanonymize N users. This results in a combinatorial explosion in computational requirements and an asymptotically declining base rate, leading to either high numbers of false positives or vanishingly small rates of successful correlation. In this paper, we introduce a novel flow correlation attack, DeepCoFFEA, that combines two ideas to overcome these drawbacks. First, DeepCoFFEA uses deep learning to train a pair of feature embedding networks that respectively map Tor and exit flows into a single low-dimensional space where correlated flows are similar; pairs of embedded flows can be compared at lower cost than pairs of full traces. Second, DeepCoFFEA uses amplification, dividing flows into short windows and using voting across these windows to significantly reduce false positives; the same embedding networks can be used with an increasing number of windows to independently lower the false positive rate. We conduct a comprehensive experimental analysis showing that DeepCoFFEA significantly outperforms state-of-the-art flow correlation attacks on Tor, e.g. 93% true positive rate versus at most 13% when tuned for high precision, with two orders of magnitude speedup over prior work. We also consider the effects of several potential countermeasures on DeepCoFFEA, finding that existing lightweight defenses are not sufficient to secure anonymity networks from this threat. 
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