Scalable onion routing with Torsk

Jon McLachlan, Andrew Tran, Nick Hopper, Yongdae Kim

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

59 Scopus citations


We introduce Torsk, a structured peer-to-peer low-latency anonymity protocol. Torsk is designed as an interoperable replacement for the relay selection and directory service of the popular Tor anonymity network, that decreases the bandwidth cost of relay selection and maintenance from quadratic to quasilinear while introducing no new attacks on the anonymity provided by Tor, and no additional delay to connections made via Tor. The resulting bandwidth savings make a modest-sized Torsk network significantly cheaper to operate, and allows low-bandwidth clients to join the network. Unlike previous proposals for P2P anonymity schemes, Torsk does not require all users to relay traffic for others. Torsk utilizes a combination of two P2P lookup mechanisms with complementary strengths in order to avoid attacks on the confidentiality and integrity of lookups. We show by analysis that previously known attacks on P2P anonymity schemes do not apply to Torsk, and report on experiments conducted with a 336-node wide-area deployment of Torsk, demonstrating its efficiency and feasibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCCS'09 - Proceedings of the 16th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2009
Event16th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, CCS'09 - Chicago, IL, United States
Duration: Nov 9 2009Nov 13 2009

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security
ISSN (Print)1543-7221


Other16th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, CCS'09
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityChicago, IL


  • Anonymous communication
  • Peer-to-peer networks


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