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Hiding Amongst the Clouds: A Proposal for Cloud-Based Onion Routing

Report ID:
May 2012
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Internet censorship and surveillance have made anonymity tools increasingly critical for free and open Internet access. Tor, and its associated ecosystem of volunteer traffic relays, provides one of the most secure and widely-available means for achieving Internet anonymity today. Unfortunately, Tor has limitations, including poor performance, inadequate capacity, and a
susceptibility to wholesale blocking. Rather than utilizing a large number of volunteers (as Tor does), we propose moving onion-routing services to the "cloud" to leverage the large capacities, robust connectivity, and economies of scale inherent to commercial datacenters. This paper describes
Cloud-based Onion Routing (COR), which builds onion-routed tunnels over multiple anonymity service providers and through multiple cloud hosting providers, dividing trust while forcing censors to incur large collateral damage. We discuss the new security policies and mechanisms needed for
such a provider-based ecosystem, and present benchmarks from our COR implementation. At today's prices, a user could gain fast, anonymous network access through COR for only pennies per day.

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