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Puzzle Outsourcing for IP-Level DoS Resistance

Report ID:
April 2004
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We explore the use of cryptographic puzzles as a countermeasure to
low-level denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, such as IP-layer
flooding. In previous work, puzzles have served mainly as tools for
DoS mitigation in higher protocol layers, for session-establishment
protocols or applications like e-mail.

In addition to its applicability to IP-level attacks, our approach
is distinctive in two regards. First, we illustrate a way in which
puzzles serve to protect public channels of communication for a
server, rather than specific service requests from clients.
We provide a detailed analysis of the resulting quality of service
in different attack scenarios.

Second, we propose simple new techniques that permit the
of puzzles, meaning their distribution via a robust
external service that we call a bastion. Many servers can
rely on puzzles distributed by a single bastion. We show how a
bastion, somewhat surprisingly, need not know which servers rely
on its services. Indeed, in one of our
constructions, a bastion may consist merely of a publicly
accessible random data source, rather than a server.

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