Visible to the public GAME OF DECOYS: Optimal Decoy Routing Through Game Theory

TitleGAME OF DECOYS: Optimal Decoy Routing Through Game Theory
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsNasr, Milad, Houmansadr, Amir
Conference NameProceedings of the 2016 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security
Conference LocationNew York, NY, USA
ISBN Number978-1-4503-4139-4
Keywordscircumvention, Collaboration, composability, decoy routing, game theoretic security, game theory, Human Behavior, internet censorship, Metrics, pubcrawl, Resiliency, Scalability

Decoy routing is a promising new approach for censorship circumvention that relies on traffic re-direction by volunteer autonomous systems. Decoy routing is subject to a fundamental censorship attack, called routing around decoy (RAD), in which the censors re-route their clients' Internet traffic in order to evade decoy routing autonomous systems. Recently, there has been a heated debate in the community on the real-world feasibility of decoy routing in the presence of the RAD attack. Unfortunately, previous studies rely their analysis on heuristic-based mechanisms for decoy placement strategies as well as ad hoc strategies for the implementation of the RAD attack by the censors. In this paper, we perform the first systematic analysis of decoy routing in the presence of the RAD attack. We use game theory to model the interactions between decoy router deployers and the censors in various settings. Our game-theoretic analysis finds the optimal decoy placement strategies--as opposed to heuristic-based placements--in the presence of RAD censors who take their optimal censorship actions--as opposed to some ad hoc implementation of RAD. That is, we investigate the best decoy placement given the best RAD censorship. We consider two business models for the real-world deployment of decoy routers: a central deployment that resembles that of Tor and a distributed deployment where autonomous systems individually decide on decoy deployment based on their economic interests. Through extensive simulation of Internet routes, we derive the optimal strategies in the two models for various censoring countries and under different assumptions about the budget and preferences of the censors and decoy deployers. We believe that our study is a significant step forward in understanding the practicality of the decoy routing circumvention approach.

Citation Keynasr_game_2016