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Tor is a real-world, circuit-based low-latency anonymous communication network, supporting TCP applications on the Internet. In this paper, we present a new class of attack, the replay attack, against Tor. Compared with other existing attacks, the replay attack can confirm communication relationships quickly and accurately and poses a serious threat against Tor. In this attack, a malicious entry onion router duplicates cells of a stream from a sender. The original cell and duplicate cell traverse middle onion routers and arrive at an exit onion router along a circuit. Since Tor uses the counter mode AES (AES-CTR) for encryption of cells, the duplicate cell disrupts the normal counter at middle and exit onion routers and the decryption at the exit onion router incurs cell recognition errors. If an accomplice of the attacker at the entry onion router controls the exit onion router and detects such decryption errors, the communication relationship between the sender and receiver will be discovered. The replay attack can also be used as a denial of service attack. We implement the replay attack on Tor and our experiments validate the feasibility and effectiveness of the attack. We also present guidelines to defending against the replay attack.
Date of Conference: 19-23 May 2008