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HSDC-net: secure anonymous messaging in online social networks
conference contributionposted on 2019-01-01, 00:00 authored by Mohammad NosouhiMohammad Nosouhi, Shui Yu, Keshav SoodKeshav Sood, M Grobler
© 2019 IEEE. Hiding contents of users' messages has been successfully addressed before, while anonymization of message senders remains a challenge since users do not usually trust ISPs and messaging application providers. To resolve this challenge, several solutions have been proposed so far. Among them, the Dining Cryptographers network protocol (DC-net) provides the strongest anonymity guarantees. However, DC-net suffers from two critical issues that makes it impractical, i.e., (1) collision possibility and (2) vulnerability against disruptions. Apart from that, we noticed a third critical issue during our investigation. (3) DC-net users can be deanonymized after they publish at least three messages. We name this problem the short stability issue and prove that anonymity is provided only for a few cycles of message publishing. As far as we know, this problem has not been identified in the previous research works. In this paper, we propose Harmonized and Stable DC-net (HSDC-net), a self-organizing protocol for anonymous communications. In our protocol design, we first resolve the short stability issue and obtain SDC-net, a stable extension of DC-net. Then, we integrate the Slot Reservation and Disruption Management sub-protocols into SDC-net to overcome the collision and security issues, respectively. The obtained HSDC-net protocol can also be integrated into blockchain-based cryptocurrencies (e.g. Bitcoin) to mix multiple transactions (belonging to different users) into a single transaction in such a way that the source of each payment is unknown. This preserves privacy of blockchain users. Our prototype implementation shows that HSDC-net achieves low latencies that makes it a practical protocol.