distributed traffic patterns (for personal traffic)

Ted Smith teddks at gmail.com
Mon Nov 8 06:07:47 PST 2010

On Mon, 2010-11-08 at 05:15 +0000, John Case wrote:
> Virtual Private Servers are getting fairly cheap, and Amazon EC2 instances
> even cheaper.  A hundred or so dollars per month could put together a
> fairly large set (say, five ?) of general purpose unix nodes on at least 3
> continents ... EC2 in Asia and Ireland, and then some bullshit VPS
> provider(s) here and there in the US.
> So let's say you assemble a little quiver of these root shells, and your
> intention is to completely obfuscate your own personal traffic ... to just
> disappear completely (as an atomic, individual net user).
> The technical foundation is pretty basic - just set up your own system, or
> perhaps a firewall at your home/office to block all traffic except for SSH
> or HTTPS and to take all outbound traffic and tunnel it over one of those
> to a random one of your systems.  Easy.

> So where does this start to fall apart ?
> First, if you hit any kind of personal/vanity/small sites on a daily or
> hourly basis, **an attacker just has to camp out upstream from there and
> collect all the source IPs that come in.**  So if you run your own
> mailserver (or whatever), this falls apart almost immediately.
> Second, unencrypted login sessions ... between web forums and chat rooms
> and any number of other things, somewhere you're entering a user/pass over
> plain old HTTP... and if an attacker can guess one or more sites that they
> know you visit, they can, just like above, camp out upstream and just
> collect all of your proxy IPs.
> And it looks like this is a fairly cheap thing to put together in 2010...

It seems to me like Tor would do everything this solution would do, and
even would avoid the two attacks you present. The attacker can do the
same thing (camp the destination), but they'll just get Tor exits. It's
also simple to transparently proxy all traffic on your system through

If you really wanted to limit your anonymity set, you could run those
nodes and set a few of them up as bridge nodes and a few of them up as
exits, and cycle through that. An upcoming feature of Tor is matching
circuits to destination ports, so you could use your (trusted) exits for
cleartext traffic (the few sites when you're forced onto HTTP) and use
the wider Tor network for the rest.

Maybe I'm not seeing what you're trying to get at, but it seems like
this would do everything you need.

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