Limiting sybil attacks in structured P2P networks

Hosam Rowaihy, William Enck, Patrick McDaniel, Thomas La Porta

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

84 Scopus citations


One practical limitation of structured peer-to-peer (P2P) networks is that they are frequently subject to Sybil attacks: malicious parties can compromise the network by generating and controlling large numbers of shadow identities. In this paper, we propose an admission control system that mitigates Sybil attacks by adaptively constructing a hierarchy of cooperative peers. The admission control system vets joining nodes via client puzzles. A node wishing to join the network is serially challenged by the nodes from a leaf to the root of the hierarchy. Nodes completing the puzzles of all nodes in the chain are provided a cryptographic proof of the vetted identity. We evaluate our solution and show that an adversary must perform days or weeks of effort to obtain even a small percentage of nodes in small P2P networks, and that this effort increases linearly with the size of the network. We further show that we can place a ceiling on the number of IDs any adversary may obtain by requiring periodic reassertion of the IDs continued validity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - IEEE INFOCOM 2007
Subtitle of host publication26th IEEE International Conference on Computer Communications
Number of pages5
StatePublished - 2007
EventIEEE INFOCOM 2007: 26th IEEE International Conference on Computer Communications - Anchorage, AK, United States
Duration: May 6 2007May 12 2007

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE INFOCOM
ISSN (Print)0743-166X


OtherIEEE INFOCOM 2007: 26th IEEE International Conference on Computer Communications
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAnchorage, AK

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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