Wednesday, July 29, 2009

3.4 Eclipse Attack

Before an attacker can launch an eclipse attack, he must gain control over a
certain amount of nodes along strategic routing paths.Once he has achieved
this, he can then separate the network in different subnetworks. Thus, if a node
wants to communicate with a node from the other subnetwork, his message must
at a certain point be routed through one of the attacker’s nodes. The attacker
thus “eclipses” each subnetwork from the other. In a way, eclipse attacks are
high-scale man-in-the-middle attacks.
An Eclipse attack can be the continuation of a Sybil attack. In this case,
the attacker will try to place his nodes on the strategic routing paths. We
argued before, that man-in-the-middle attacks don’t pose a great threat to P2P
networks. However, such a high scale attack involving strategic targeting is
very serious. The attacker can completely control a subnetwork from the other
subnetwork’s point of view.
If an attacker manages an Eclipse attack (it is not an easy attack), can attack
the network in a much more efficient manner.
• He can attack the control plane by inefficiently rerouting each message.
• He can decide to drop all messages he receives, thus completely separating
both subnetworks.
• He can attack the data plane by injecting polluted files or requesting
polluted files on behalf of a innocent nodes and hoping, these files are
cached or copied along the way.

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