Paper 2013/664

TUC: Time-sensitive and Modular Analysis of Anonymous Communication

Michael Backes, Praveen Manoharan, and Esfandiar Mohammadi


The anonymous communication protocol Tor constitutes the most widely deployed technology for providing anonymity for user communication over the Internet. Several frameworks have been proposed that show strong anonymity guarantees; none of these, however, are capable of modeling the class of traffic-related timing attacks against Tor, such as traffic correlation and website fingerprinting. In this work, we present TUC: the first framework that allows for establishing strong anonymity guarantees in the presence of time-sensitive adversaries that mount traffic-related timing attacks. TUC incorporates a comprehensive notion of time in an asynchronous communication model with sequential activation, while offering strong compositionality properties for security proofs. We apply TUC to evaluate a novel countermeasure for Tor against website fingerprinting attacks. Our analysis relies on a formalization of the onion routing protocol that underlies Tor and proves rigorous anonymity guarantees in the presence of traffic-related timing attacks.

Note: We added an internal simulation lemma and proved that in our model all activation orders are equivalent. Moreover, we more thoroughly discussed timing attacks.

Available format(s)
Publication info
Preprint. MAJOR revision.
cryptographic protocolssecurity analysis of protocolsconcurrent compositionanonymous communication
Contact author(s)
manoharan @ cs uni-saarland de
2014-02-12: revised
2013-10-24: received
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Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Michael Backes and Praveen Manoharan and Esfandiar Mohammadi},
      title = {TUC: Time-sensitive and Modular Analysis of Anonymous Communication},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2013/664},
      year = {2013},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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