Modelling client puzzles and denial-of-service resistant protocols

Kuppusamy, Lakshmi Devi (2012) Modelling client puzzles and denial-of-service resistant protocols. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Denial-of-service (DoS) attacks are a growing concern to networked services like the Internet.

In recent years, major Internet e-commerce and government sites have been disabled due to various DoS attacks. A common form of DoS attack is a resource depletion attack, in which an attacker tries to overload the server's resources, such as memory or computational power, rendering the server unable to service honest clients. A promising way to deal with this problem is for a defending server to identify and segregate malicious traffic as earlier as possible. Client puzzles, also known as proofs of work, have been shown to be a promising tool to thwart DoS attacks in network protocols, particularly in authentication protocols. In this thesis, we design efficient client puzzles and propose a stronger security model to analyse client puzzles. We revisit a few key establishment protocols to analyse their DoS resilient properties and strengthen them using existing and novel techniques.

Our contributions in the thesis are manifold. We propose an efficient client puzzle that enjoys its security in the standard model under new computational assumptions. Assuming the presence of powerful DoS attackers, we find a weakness in the most recent security model proposed to analyse client puzzles and this study leads us to introduce a better security model for analysing client puzzles. We demonstrate the utility of our new security definitions by including two hash based stronger client puzzles. We also show that using stronger client puzzles any protocol can be converted into a provably secure DoS resilient key exchange protocol.

In other contributions, we analyse DoS resilient properties of network protocols such as Just Fast Keying (JFK) and Transport Layer Security (TLS). In the JFK protocol, we identify a new DoS attack by applying Meadows' cost based framework to analyse DoS resilient properties. We also prove that the original security claim of JFK does not hold. Then we combine an existing technique to reduce the server cost and prove that the new variant of JFK achieves perfect forward secrecy (the property not achieved by original JFK protocol) and secure under the original security assumptions of JFK. Finally, we introduce a novel cost shifting technique which reduces the computation cost of the server significantly and employ the technique in the most important network protocol, TLS, to analyse the security of the resultant protocol. We also observe that the cost shifting technique can be incorporated in any Diffine{Hellman based key exchange protocol to reduce the Diffie{Hellman exponential cost of a party by one multiplication and one addition.

Impact and interest:

9 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 61032
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Stebila, Douglas & Boyd, Colin
Keywords: denial-of-service, client puzzles, message authentication codes, pseudo-random function, hash function, authenticated key exchange, meadows' cost-based framework, random Oracle model, standard model, denial-of-service resistant protocol
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Institutes > Information Security Institute
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 01 Jul 2013 01:38
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2015 02:20

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