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Locating Hidden Servers
In the Proceedings of the 2006 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, May 2006. Lasse Øverlier, Norwegian Defence Research Establishment and Gjøvik University College, and Paul Syverson, Naval Research Laboratory.
Tor is a distributed low-latency anonymous communication network developed by the Naval Research Laboratory and the Free Haven Project. Since 2004 Tor has also been used to underly services offered from hidden locations. Hidden servers have also been recommended for preserving the anonymity of the service offerer and to resist censorship. There have been several recent cases in the news in which anonymous bloggers have or have not been exposed and have or have not lost jobs, etc., as a result, depending on the policy of their ISP, the interpretation of laws by various courts, and numerous other factors. The Tor developers are careful, however, to warn against using Tor in critical situations: upon startup the Tor client announces, “This is experimental software. Do not rely on it for strong anonymity.” Nonetheless, with increasing high-profile recommendations to use Tor’s hidden services for applications such as those above, it is important to assess the protection they afford.
In this paper we demonstrate attacks (not simulations) on the deployed Tor network that reveal the location of a hidden server. The attacks are cheap and fast: they use only a single hostile Tor node and require from only minutes to a few hours to locate a hidden server.
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