Censorship Counterstrike via Measurement, Filtering, Evasion, and Protocol Enhancement

Principal Investigator(s): 
Vern Paxson

This project studies Internet censorship as practiced by some of today's nation-states. The effort emphasizes analyzing the technical measures used by censors and the extent to which their operations inflict collateral damage (unintended blocking or blocking of activity wholly outside the censoring nation). Researchers also study the vulnerabilities that arise because of how censorship operates by analyzing flaws in either how the censorship monitoring detects particular network traffic to suppress, or in how the monitor then attempts to block or disrupt the target traffic. The project focuses on forms of monitoring that eavesdrop on network links, analyze copies of transmitted traffic, and then inject forged traffic, seemingly sent from one of the communication endpoints to the other, instructing the other party to cease communication. Such "on-path" monitoring is subject to a number of potential manipulations and evasions because the monitor has an inexact view of the communication as seen by the communicating parties. The researchers then develop tools and changes to Internet technology that can resist these forms of disruption and thus enable users to access the Internet freely.

Funding provided by NSF grant 1223717, TWC: Phase: Small: Censorship Counterstrike via Measurement, Filtering, Evasion, and Protocol Enhancement.