Asynchronous covert communication using BitTorrent trackers

Mathieu Cunche, Mohamed Ali Kaafar, Roksana Boreli

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Covert channels enable communicating parties to exchange messages without being detected by an external observer. We propose a novel covert channel mechanism based on BitTorrent trackers. The proposed mechanism uses common HTTP commands, thus having the appearance of genuine web traffic and consists of communications that are both indirect and asynchronous: no messages are directly exchanged between the sender and the receiver (of covert communications) and there is a potentially considerable delay between the sender's message to the relaying party and the receiver collecting this message. We present details of the proposed scheme in which a centralized BitTorrent tracker is used for storing covert messages and evaluate its performance based on the implemented prototype. We analyze the detectability of covert communications by an adversary and show that, while the common nature of the BitTorrent traffic and the large number of clients make the detection unlikely, the low temporal correlation between the writer and the reader (the two communicating parties) further increases the detection difficulty.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication16th IEEE International Conference on High Performance Computing and Communications, HPCC 2014, 11th IEEE International Conference on Embedded Software and Systems, ICESS 2014 and 6th International Symposium on Cyberspace Safety and Security, CSS 2014
Subtitle of host publicationproceedings
Place of PublicationPiscataway
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Pages827-830
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781479961238
ISBN (Print)9781479961245
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event16th IEEE International Conference on High Performance Computing and Communications, HPCC 2014, 11th IEEE International Conference on Embedded Software and Systems, ICESS 2014 and 6th International Symposium on Cyberspace Safety and Security, CSS 2014 - Paris, France
Duration: 20 Aug 201422 Aug 2014

Conference

Conference16th IEEE International Conference on High Performance Computing and Communications, HPCC 2014, 11th IEEE International Conference on Embedded Software and Systems, ICESS 2014 and 6th International Symposium on Cyberspace Safety and Security, CSS 2014
CountryFrance
CityParis
Period20/08/1422/08/14

Keywords

  • BitTorrent
  • covert channel

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