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Re: (dis)advantages of DC-Net vs remailers

>  And when you try to figure how to deal with denial of service
>  attacks in a big DC net that tries to use bandwidth with tolerable
>  efficiency -- I don't know if anyone has figured out what would be
>  involved -- I certainly have not.

The bandwidth is the easy part.  Building clients that do a DC protocol with  
real-world reliability and resistance to denial of service is the hard part.   
And doing all this in a package that would be easy to get people to use is  
probably the hardest part.

The only way I know of to deal with denial of service is for everyone to  
reveal their flips and kick the attackers out of the net.  However, if  
someone is legitimately transmitting that round they loose their  
untraceability.  So pretty much the only way to do it is ensure that only one  
participant has permission to transmit and that the participant with  
permission gets to decide if everyone shows their hands.

A way to do this would be to have a separate reservation phase of the  
protocol.  In the reservation phase all of the participants 'bid' on a token.  
 Whoever gets the token has permission to transmit during that round.  If  
collisions have been occurring, the participant holding the token can demand  
that everyone reveal their flips.  I think there is a paper describing a  
protocol for this, but I don't have access to a library with crypto material.

The protocol for distributing the token would be somewhere between an  
All-Or-Nothing-Disclosure-Of-Secrets and a poker card dealing protocol.  Only  
one person should be able to get the token and nobody should know who got it.  
 To make it more complicated, for people to be able to transmit in a timely  
fashion, you should be able to specifically request the token when you want  
it (so you would have a 1/n chance of getting it with n being the total  
number of participants wanting to transmit that round), and not have any  
chance of getting it when you don't want to transmit.  In addition the  
generation of the token(s) should be secure so that none of the participants  
have to trust anyone that only one participant can get a valid transmit  

I can think of a way to do this with a mental poker protocol.  The only  
problem is there is always a 1/n chance of getting the transmit token (where  
n is the total number of participants), whether you want it or not.  I  
believe it also requires some trust in the 'dealer'...  Anyway, the deck  
would consist of 1 transmit token and n-1 blank tokens.  Immediately after  
the transmit phase the participant holding the token can optionally demand  
that everyone reveal their flips.  To do that the participant would reveal  
their valid transmit token.  At that point everyone else would reveal their  
blank transmit tokens (to make sure there are no duplicates).  If anyone  
refuses to reveal their blank token, they are removed from the net.  Once  
it's been determined that there is only one valid transmit token, everyone  
reveals their flips.

In theory all of this stuff would work, but implementing it is a different  
story.  For a DC net to be practical, it would have to run completely without  
human intervention.  Maybe a client could be placed in your .login or shell  
rc file and would run in the background whenever you were logged in.  It  
could keep running after you logged out if you had a message in your queue to  
be sent out.  Clients must be smart enough to synchronize rounds and remove  
participants who aren't responding fast within time-outs, etc...   
automatically attempt to 'lay a trap' when collisions have been occurring,  
figure out who is disrupting or not following protocol and remove them or  
alternately have the client drop out of the DC-Net when protocol hasn't been  
followed to satisfaction (duplicate tokens in one round, etc...), etc...

Quite a tall order, and for how much more untraceability than the current  
remailer system?  Even if it is implemented you still have to get people to  
use it.  The current remailer system can be used with no software  

Still, it's an interesting prospect, as it offers real sender and receiver  
untraceability within the group of participants.  But is it worth it?

(apologies for the length...)