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Selfrando: Securing the Tor Browser against De-anonymization Exploits

Conti, Mauro and Crane, Stephen and Frassetto, Tommaso and Homescu, Andrei and Koppen, Georg and Larsen, Per and Liebchen, Christopher and Perry, Mike and Sadeghi, Ahmad-Reza (2016):
Selfrando: Securing the Tor Browser against De-anonymization Exploits.
In: The annual Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium (PETS), [Conference or Workshop Item]

Abstract

Tor is a well-known anonymous communication system used by millions of users, including journalists and civil rights activists all over the world. The Tor Browser gives non-technical users an easy way to access the Tor Network. However, many government organizations are actively trying to compromise Tor not only in regions with repressive regimes but also in the free world, as the recent FBI incidents clearly demonstrate. Exploiting software vulnerabilities in general, and browser vulnerabilities in particular, constitutes a clear and present threat to the Tor software. The Tor Browser shares a large part of its attack surface with the Firefox browser. Therefore, Firefox vulnerabilities (even patched ones) are highly valuable to attackers trying to monitor users of the Tor Browser.

In this paper, we present selfrando — an enhanced and practical load-time randomization technique for the Tor Browser that defends against exploits, such as the one FBI allegedly used against Tor users. Our solution significantly improves security over standard ASLR techniques currently used by Firefox and other mainstream browsers.

Moreover, we collaborated closely with the Tor Project to ensure that selfrando is fully compatible with AddressSanitizer, a compiler feature to detect memory corruption. AddressSanitizer is used in a hardened version of Tor Browser for test purposes. The Tor Project decided to include our solution in the hardened releases of the Tor Browser, which is currently undergoing field testing.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Erschienen: 2016
Creators: Conti, Mauro and Crane, Stephen and Frassetto, Tommaso and Homescu, Andrei and Koppen, Georg and Larsen, Per and Liebchen, Christopher and Perry, Mike and Sadeghi, Ahmad-Reza
Title: Selfrando: Securing the Tor Browser against De-anonymization Exploits
Language: English
Abstract:

Tor is a well-known anonymous communication system used by millions of users, including journalists and civil rights activists all over the world. The Tor Browser gives non-technical users an easy way to access the Tor Network. However, many government organizations are actively trying to compromise Tor not only in regions with repressive regimes but also in the free world, as the recent FBI incidents clearly demonstrate. Exploiting software vulnerabilities in general, and browser vulnerabilities in particular, constitutes a clear and present threat to the Tor software. The Tor Browser shares a large part of its attack surface with the Firefox browser. Therefore, Firefox vulnerabilities (even patched ones) are highly valuable to attackers trying to monitor users of the Tor Browser.

In this paper, we present selfrando — an enhanced and practical load-time randomization technique for the Tor Browser that defends against exploits, such as the one FBI allegedly used against Tor users. Our solution significantly improves security over standard ASLR techniques currently used by Firefox and other mainstream browsers.

Moreover, we collaborated closely with the Tor Project to ensure that selfrando is fully compatible with AddressSanitizer, a compiler feature to detect memory corruption. AddressSanitizer is used in a hardened version of Tor Browser for test purposes. The Tor Project decided to include our solution in the hardened releases of the Tor Browser, which is currently undergoing field testing.

Title of Book: The annual Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium (PETS)
Uncontrolled Keywords: ICRI-SC;S2;Secure Things;Solutions
Divisions: 20 Department of Computer Science
20 Department of Computer Science > System Security Lab
DFG-Collaborative Research Centres (incl. Transregio)
DFG-Collaborative Research Centres (incl. Transregio) > Collaborative Research Centres
Profile Areas
Profile Areas > Cybersecurity (CYSEC)
LOEWE
LOEWE > LOEWE-Zentren
LOEWE > LOEWE-Zentren > CRISP - Center for Research in Security and Privacy
LOEWE > LOEWE-Zentren > CASED – Center for Advanced Security Research Darmstadt
DFG-Collaborative Research Centres (incl. Transregio) > Collaborative Research Centres > CRC 1119: CROSSING – Cryptography-Based Security Solutions: Enabling Trust in New and Next Generation Computing Environments
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2016 10:13
Identification Number: TUD-CS-2016-0094
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