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Exploiting the Structure in DHT Overlays for DoS Protection

Stavrou, Angelos; Keromytis, Angelos D.; Rubenstein, Daniel Stuart

Peer to Peer (P2P) systems that utilize Distributed Hash Tables (DHTs) provide a scalable means to distribute the handling of lookups. However, this scalability comes at the expense of increased vulnerability to specific types of attacks. In this paper, we focus on insider denial of service (DoS) attacks on such systems. In these attacks, nodes that are part of the DHT system are compromised and used to flood other nodes in the DHT with excessive request traffic. We devise a distributed lightweight protocol that detects such attacks, implemented solely within nodes that participate in the DHT. Our approach exploits inherent structural invariants of DHTs to ferret out attacking nodes whose request patterns deviate from "normal" behavior. We evaluate our protocol's ability to detect attackers via simulation within a Chord network. The results show that our system can detect a simple attacker whose attack traffic deviates by as little as 5\% from a normal request traffic. We also demonstrate the resiliency of our protocol to coordinated attacks by up to as many as 25\% of nodes. Our work shows that DHTs can protect themselves from insider flooding attacks, eliminating an important roadblock to their deployment and use in untrusted environments.

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Academic Units
Computer Science
Publisher
Department of Computer Science, Columbia University
Series
Columbia University Computer Science Technical Reports, CUCS-019-04
Published Here
April 26, 2011
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