CCR Papers from October 2014

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  • Dina Papagiannaki

    Welcome to the October issue of CCR. This issue features the technical and editorial papers that comprise CCR's quarterly content, but also all the papers that appeared at ACM Sigcomm, along with the best papers selected from its affiliated workshops.

    Sigcomm this year was attended by 733 people, making it the second highest attendance event ACM Sigcomm has ever had, after Hong Kong last year. More interestingly, 23% of all attendees were coming from industry, something which I also noticed during the presentations and the follow up questions. Our conference has become a very vibrant venue for an expanding community. A community, that seems increasingly interested in solving difficult scientific problems while having impact on the technology landscape as a whole. I am really looking forward to the results of such closer collaboration between academic and industrial researchers.

    The SIGCOMM award was presented to Dr. George Varghese, “for his sustained and diverse contributions to network algorithmics, with far reaching impact in both research and industry.” George’s talk was focused on his framework of structuring his research, such that he indeed solves difficult problems that will change the landscape of technology in a fundamental way. I surely hope to secure an editorial submission from him in a future issue of CCR, where he can describe in his own "written" words his thinking around what he calls "confluence."

    The main content of the conference revolved around software defined networks, data centers, wireless and cellular networks, security and privacy. Security and trust are also the topics of our three CCR technical papers for this issue. The editorial section comprises the report from the 6th workshop on active Internet measurements, a position paper aiming to define “fog computing,” and the introduction of an interesting open platform for cellular research, OpenAirInterface. I hope you enjoy reading them.

    Finally, this issue is marking the end of tenure for two of our editors, Dr. Renata Teixeira, and Dr. Sanjay Jha. I wanted to thank both of them for their service to CCR. With that, I hope you enjoy this extended issue of CCR and I am always at your disposal in case of questions/suggestions. Dina Papagiannaki CCR Editor

  • S. Coull, K. Dyer

    Instant messaging services are quickly becoming the most dominant form of communication among consumers around the world. Apple iMessage, for example, handles over 2 billion messages each day, while WhatsApp claims 16 billion messages from 400 million international users. To protect user privacy, many of these services typically implement endto-end and transport layer encryption, which are meant to make eavesdropping infeasible even for the service providers themselves. In this paper, however, we show that it is possible for an eavesdropper to learn information about user actions, the language of messages, and even the length of those messages with greater than 96% accuracy despite the use of state-of-the-art encryption technologies simply by observing the sizes of encrypted packets. While our evaluation focuses on Apple iMessage, the attacks are completely generic and we show how they can be applied to many popular messaging services, including WhatsApp, Viber, and Telegram.

    Joel Sommers
  • C. Ghali, G. Tsudik, E. Uzun

    In contrast to today’s IP-based host-oriented Internet architecture, Information-Centric Networking (ICN) emphasizes content by making it directly addressable and routable. Named Data Networking (NDN) architecture is an instance of ICN that is being developed as a candidate next-generation Internet architecture. By opportunistically caching content within the network, NDN appears to be well-suited for large-scale content distribution and for meeting the needs of increasingly mobile and bandwidth-hungry applications that dominate today’s Internet. One key feature of NDN is the requirement for each content object to be digitally signed by its producer. Thus, NDN should be, in principle, immune to distributing fake (aka "poisoned") content. However, in practice, this poses two challenges for detecting fake content in NDN routers: (1) overhead due to signature verification and certificate chain traversal, and (2) lack of trust context, i.e., determining which public keys are trusted to verify which content. Because of these issues, NDN does not force routers to verify content signatures, which makes the architecture susceptible to content poisoning attacks. This paper explores root causes of, and some cures for, content poisoning attacks in NDN. In the process, it becomes apparent that meaningful mitigation of content poisoning is contingent upon a network-layer trust management architecture, elements of which we construct, while carefully justifying specific design choices. This work represents the initial effort towards comprehensive trust management for NDN.

    Phillipa Gill
  • R. Hofstede, L. Hendriks, A. Sperotto, A. Pras

    Flow-based approaches for SSH intrusion detection have been developed to overcome the scalability issues of host-based alternatives. Although the detection of many SSH attacks in a flow-based fashion is fairly straightforward, no insight is typically provided in whether an attack was successful. We address this shortcoming by presenting a detection algorithm for the flow-based detection of compromises, i.e., hosts that have been compromised during an attack. Our algorithm has been implemented as part of our open-source IDS SSHCure and validated using almost 100 servers, workstations and honeypots, featuring an accuracy close to 100%.

    Hitesh Ballani
  • L. Vaquero, L. Rodero-Merino

    The cloud is migrating to the edge of the network, where routers themselves may become the virtualisation infrastructure, in an evolution labelled as “the fog”. However, many other complementary technologies are reaching a high level of maturity. Their interplay may dramatically shift the information and communication technology landscape in the following years, bringing separate technologies into a common ground. This paper offers a comprehensive definition of the fog, comprehending technologies as diverse as cloud, sensor networks, peer-to-peer networks, network virtualisation functions or configuration management techniques. We highlight the main challenges faced by this potentially breakthrough technology amalgamation.

  • N. Nikaein, M. Marina, S. Manickam, A. Dawson, R. Knopp, C. Bonnet

    Driven by the need to cope with exponentially growing mobile data traffic and to support new traffic types from massive numbers of machine-type devices, academia and industry are thinking beyond the current generation of mobile cellular networks to chalk a path towards fifth generation (5G) mobile networks. Several new approaches and technologies are being considered as potential elements making up such a future mobile network, including cloud RANs, application of SDN principles, exploiting new and unused portions of spectrum, use of massive MIMO and full-duplex communications. Research on these technologies requires realistic and flexible experimentation platforms that offer a wide range of experimentation modes from real-world experimentation to controlled and scalable evaluations while at the same time retaining backward compatibility with current generation systems. Towards this end, we present OpenAirInterface (OAI) as a suitably flexible platform. In addition, we discuss the use of OAI in the context of several widely mentioned 5G research directions.

  • kc claffy

    On 26-27 March 2014, CAIDA hosted the sixth Workshop on Active Internet Measurements (AIMS-6) as part of our series of Internet Statistics and Metrics Analysis (ISMA) workshops. As with previous AIMS workshops, the goals were to further our understanding of the potential and limitations of active measurement research and infrastructure in the wide-area Internet, and to promote cooperative solutions and coordinated strategies between academics, industry, policymakers, and funding agencies in the area of active Internet measurement. This year, we explored capabilities and opportunities for network measurement in the wireless domain, and research infrastructure to support it. Participants found the workshop content challengingly diverse, with substantial knowledge exchange regarding the wireless research infrastructure landscape(s) and existing measurement capabilities. But attendees agreed that the conversation was only beginning, and that some challenges merit further discussion, such as finding consensus on standard metrics to measure, and constructing a road map for wireless measurement research infrastructure and activities for the next decade. This report describes topics discussed at the workshop, and summarizes participants’ views of priorities for future funding as well as follow-on workshops in this area. Materials related to the workshop are available at

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