Traffic Receipts for Network Transparency

Today's Internet is not transparent: when packets get lost or delayed, there is typically no information about where the problem occurred, hence no information about who is responsible. This results in Internet service providers (ISPs) offering service level agreements (SLAs) that cannot be verified, and governments enacting neutrality regulations that cannot be enforced. To remedy this, we propose a "transparency system,"€ where each participating network emits receipts for traffic it receives and delivers; an independent monitor collects these receipts and makes decisions regarding the network'€™s performance and neutrality (or lack thereof). The main challenge we face is misbehavior: On the one hand, a network that participates in such a system has a clear incentive to game the system and influence the monitor'€™s decisions to its advantage, by manipulating either the receipts it emits or the corresponding traffic. On the other hand, the monitor (or, more precisely, an adversary who has access to the same information as the monitor, e.g., a government that has subpoenaed the monitor's records) may have an incentive to use the receipts emitted by a network in order to infer information that is otherwise private to the network, in particular, its internal topology. We make three contributions, each one to prevent a different type of misbehavior: (1) Incentive-compatible reporting, which ensures that networks have no incentive to manipulate the receipts they emit in order to claim better performance or fake neutrality. The key to our solution is a trade-off that we discover between network performance and neutrality: we design our system such that the more a network tries to exaggerate its estimated performance the more likely it is to be perceived to violate neutrality (and vice versa). (2) Unbiased reporting, which ensures that networks cannot manipulate the traffic for which they emit receipts in order to claim better performance. The key to our solution is delayed disclosure: we design receipt generation such that, by the time a network has all the information it needs to emit a correct receipt, the network has already forwarded the traffic that this receipt concerns, hence cannot manipulate it. (3) Topology-obfuscation reporting, which enables networks to emit the information that is necessary for the monitor to make correct decisions without leaking any information about internal network topology. The key to our solution is the observation that topology inference exploits the diversity of pairwise similarities between the delay vectors of different network paths; hence, we design receipt generation such that any delay vectors that the monitor might compute have almost 0 pairwise similarities. We conclude that it is possible to design a transparency system that enables networks to report on their own performance such that networks have no incentive to game the system and no fear of leaking information about their private topology.

Argyraki, Aikaterini
Lausanne, EPFL

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 Notice créée le 2018-11-21, modifiée le 2020-04-20

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