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Researchers Cover Messages in a Sea of Spam

Quantum cryptography and various exotic ways are tried by the researchers to maintain your missives to be safe; however there is a new one: junk mail. A system known as "Vuvuzela" has been devised by the MIT's CSAIL computer scientist's team, which adds sound to messages, making them almost untraceable to the sender or the recipient. Although nodes like the Tor "dark internet" router is used by it, but it only needs limited servers and depends more on many fake messages to have the hackers confused.

The technique provides you almost mathematical assurance that your messages, and moreover the metadata, are safe if scaled up, according to a report published by engadget.com on December 14, 2015.

Keeping this in mind, a group of MIT researchers have formed a new messaging system particularly designed to mask metadata by using misdirection and flood of fake messages which "(guarantee) metadata privacy."

With the system, under no circumstances messages are sent directly; in its place, encrypted messages are deposited by the users in a "dead drop" server mailbox. The user never initiates the exchange of messages - something that the hackers could detect - but instead take place in "rounds" every 10-20 seconds.

This enhances the security significantly, but metadata info can still be accessed by the bad peoples, say by making one of the user offline to observe whether the number of messages reduces. This is where the spam comes in - "cover traffic' messages are send by each server to random mailboxes for hiding the activities of individual users. The system even works when several servers are infiltrated, but still some of them are "clean".

The scheme will be specifically helpful to users concerned about the NSA-style mass surveillance, like reporters or whistleblowers. (Surely, like several legitimate services, it can also be misused by bad peoples.) The disadvantage is the speed - as server rounds are carried during set intervals, and speed of message is limited to those times. On Amazon EC2 servers, a simulation has been run by the researchers, and with a million simulated users and 15,000 messages per second, latency of system was a foot-tapping 44 seconds per message. They plan to scale it up to find out whether the time can be enhanced, but we conceive that users, who totally cannot have messages traced back to them, are fine with a little delay.

» SPAMfighter News - 12/17/2015

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