Researchers developing Tor-client that would be resistant to timing attacks




American and Israeli researchers have developed a new Tor client that should protect users against known timing attacks. This attack method makes it possible to trace the identity of a user.

By timing attacks, which exist in several versions, an attacker can the identity of a Tor user sometimes overtake within minutes to gain control over both the entry and exit nodes relays. According to researchers, approximately 58 percent of current Tor infrastructure vulnerable to this type of attack, while in China this figure could be as high as 86 percent. The fear is that intelligence agencies like the NSA and GCHQ committed this attack techniques to de-anonymizing Tor users.

In an effort to protect users from timing attacks, US and Israeli researchers a new Tor client developed . The client, called Astoria, the number of vulnerable Tor connections in practice would be able to reduce from 58 percent to 5.8 percent.

Astoria contains according to the makers an algorithm more selective with laying Tor connections through relays because the certain attacks, such as timing attacks, could better ‘predict’. If no safe relays are found, the algorithm chooses for any relay on the Tor network. Additionally, Astoria would provide better load balancing to more efficiently as the Tor network.

Though never completely be prevented by the design of the Tor network timing attacks, the developers of Tor software, trying to counter such attacks by making it as expensive as possible. Software as Astoria should help there, though the creators say that their Tor client in practice it is useful only if a security is required which is higher than that of the regular Tor client.


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