Tor users’ anonymity at risk from network analysis attacks

The Tor Project has moved to counter fresh research suggesting that hackers and law enforcement could identify over 80 percent of Tor users by mounting network analysis attacks.

Professor Sambuddah Chakravarty, from the Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology in Delhi, reported the finding in a research paper entitled On the Effectiveness of Traffic Analysis Against Anonymity Networks using Flow Records.

“A powerful adversary can mount traffic analysis attacks by observing similar traffic patterns at various points of the network, linking together otherwise unrelated network connections,” read the paper.

The specific network analysis technique used in the research reportedly works by “identifying pattern similarities in the traffic flows entering and leaving the Tor network using statistical correlation”.

Chakravarty’s research team reported that tests on a public Tor relay showed the technique could identify most users.


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