[tor-dev] Introduction Points and their rotation periods (was Re: Hidden Service Scaling)

George Kadianakis desnacked at riseup.net
Sun May 11 16:36:28 UTC 2014

Michael Rogers <michael at briarproject.org> writes:

> On 10/05/14 21:09, George Kadianakis wrote:
>> It's interesting that you say this, because we pretty much took
>> the opposite approach with guard nodes. That is, the plan is to
>> extend their rotation period to 9 months (from the current 2-3
>> months). See: 
>> https://gitweb.torproject.org/torspec.git/blob/HEAD:/proposals/236-single-guard-node.txt
>>  I was even planning on writing an extension to rend-spec-ng.txt
>> to specify how IPs should be picked and to extend their rotation 
>> period. That's for the same reason we do it for entry guards:
> Hi George,
> Is there an analysis somewhere of why it would be better to change IPs
> less frequently?

No, this analysis hasn't been done yet. I'd have to do the analysis
before writing the patch to rend-spec-ng.txt and that's why I haven't
written it yet.

It's still unclear to me whether keeping IPs for longer periods of
time is a good idea; I suggested it as a possible approach because we
recently took a similar decision for guard nodes (see my previous
mail). More analysis must be done.

Also, note, that if the scaling ideas get implemented, the IPs become
more important in the HS threat model. For example, many of the
suggested scaling schemes allow the IPs to learn the number of HS
nodes, or to decide which HS node should receive a given connection.

> I think it would be good for the performance of
> mobile hidden services, but I'm concerned about the attack waldo
> described eariler in this thread, in which a malicious IP breaks
> circuits until the service builds a circuit through a malicious middle
> node, allowing the attacker to discover the service's entry guard.

I couldn't find the attack you described in this thread.
This thread is quite big.

However, I'm not sure how rotating IPs _more frequently_ can help
against the guard discovery attack you described. It would seem to me
that the contrary is true (the fewer IPs you go through, the less
probability you have for one of them to be adversarial).

> Perhaps the attack could be mitigated by keeping the same middle node
> and IP for as long as possible, then choosing a new middle node *and*
> a new IP when either of them became unavailable? Then a malicious IP
> that broke a circuit would push the circuit onto a new IP.

Also see
https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-dev/2013-October/005621.html .

Unfortunately, it seems to me that the 'virtual circuit' idea is
messier than we imagine, and taking the 'guard layers' approach might
be less dangerous and easier to analyze.

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