- Concealing Presence Information in Instant Messaging Systems (2006)
- Information about online presence allows participants of instant messaging (IM) systems to determine whether their prospective communication partners will be able to answer their requests in a timely manner, or not. That is why presence information, combined with the ability to send instant messages, makes IM more personal and closer than other forms of communication such as e-mail. On the other hand, revelation of presence constitutes a potential of misuse by untrustworthy entities. A possible risk is the generation of online logs disclosing user habits. This makes presence information a resource worth protecting. We argue, however, that current IM systems do not take reasonable precautions to protect presence information. We implemented an IM system designed to be robust against attacks to disclose a user’s presence. In contrast to existing systems, it stores presence information in a registry in a way that is only detectable and applicable for intended users and not comprehensible even for the registry itself. We use a distributed hash table (DHT) as registry and apply an anonymous communication network to protect the physical addresses of both senders and receivers of messages.
- Open Chord version 1.0.4 User's Manual (2007)
- In recent years peer-to-peer networks have developed from unstructured to structured overlay networks. Structured peer-to-peer overlay networks facilitate a bounded number of messages in the number of peers for querying and publishing content opposed to unstructured networks, which usually flood the network with messages. To prevent the messages from overflooding the network they have a bounded life time, which may cause that some published content will be lost. Structured peer-to-peer networks guarantee that all published content can be found. One well known structured overlay network is the chord distributed hash table. An implementation of chord is only available in C, but not in Java, which is used widely and often in computer science education. This manual describes an open source implementation of chord in Java - called Open Chord - and how it can be used in Java-based applications. It provides a console-based experimentation environment to explore the functionality of chord, as well.
- Extended Abstracts of the Second Privacy Enhancing Technologies Convention (PET-CON 2008.1) (2008)
- PET-CON, the Privacy Enhancing Technologies Convention, is a forum for researchers, students, developers, and other interested people to discuss novel research, current developments and techniques in the area of Privacy Enhancing Technologies. PET-CON was first conceived in June 2007 at the 7th International PET Symposium in Ottawa, Canada. The idea was to set up a bi-annual convention in or nearby Germany to be able to meet more often than only once a year at some major conference.
- Privacy-enhancing Technologies for Private Services (2008)
- Privacy on the Internet is becoming more and more important, as an increasing part of everyday life takes place over the Internet. Internet users lose the ability to control which information they give away about themselves or are even not aware that they do so. Privacy-enhancing technologies help control private information on the Internet, for example, by anonymizing Internet communication. Up to now, work on privacy-enhancing technologies has mainly focused on privacy of users requesting public services. This thesis introduces a new privacy risk that occurs when private persons run their own services. One example are instant messaging systems which allow users to exchange presence information and text messages in real time. These systems usually do not provide protection of presence information which is stored on central servers. As an alternative, decentralized instant messaging system designs mitigate this problem by having private persons provide instant messaging services to each other. However, providing a service as a private person causes new security problems as compared to providing a service as an organization or enterprise: First, the presence of such a service reveals information about the availability of the service provider. Second, the server location needs to be concealed in order to hide the whereabouts of a person. Third, the server needs to be specifically protected from unauthorized access attempts. This thesis proposes to use pseudonymous services as a building block for private services. Pseudonymous services conceal the location of a server that provides a specific service. The contribution made here is to analyze what parts of pseudonymous services, in particular Tor hidden services, are missing in order to apply them for private services. This analysis leads to three main problems for which solutions are proposed: First, known pseudonymous service designs do not scale to the expected number of private services which might be provided in the future. This thesis proposes a new approach to store hidden service descriptors in a distributed data structure rather than on central servers. A particular focus lies on the support of private entries which are required for private services. Second, pseudonymous services leak too much information about service identity during advertisement in the network and connection establishment by clients. The approach taken in this thesis is to reduce the information that a service publishes in the network to a minimum and prevent unauthorized clients from accessing a service already during connection establishment. These changes protect service activity and usage patterns from non-authorized entities. Third, pseudonymous services exhibit worse performance than direct service access. The contribution of this thesis is to measure performance, identify possible problems, and propose improvements.