Qurat-Ul-Ann Danyal Akbar to Present Research at 6th USENIX Workshop on Free & Open Communications on the Internet

Marcel Flores & Prof. Aleksandar Kuzmanovic of the Northwestern Networks Group are coauthors of the paper, titled, "DNS-sly: Avoiding Censorship through Network Complexity."

Qurat-Ul-Ann Danyal Akbar

EECS Ph.D. Student Qurat-Ul-Ann Danyal Akbar of Northwestern Networks Group will be presenting research from her paper, titled, "DNS-sly: Avoiding Censorship through Network Complexity" at the 6th USENIX Workshop on Free and Open Communications on the Internet (FOCI '16), held in Austin, TX on August 8, 2016.

The paper's coauthors, include EECS Alumnus Marcel Flores (PhD 16') and Prof. Aleksandar Kuzmanovic (also of the Northwestern Networks Group).

Marcel FloresDanyal Akbar spoke highly of her collaborative experience, stating that "Being able to work on an exciting project and publishing a paper out of it as first year PhD student would not have been possible without the belief Dr. Kuzmanovic put in me and the constant mentorship my colleague, Marcel, provided. I want to work hard towards making even more significant contributions to the field of Computer Science."

Paper Abstract: We design DNS-sly, a counter-censorship system which enables a covert channel between a DNS client and server. To achieve covertness and deniability in the upstream direction, DNS-sly applies user personalization, adapting to individual behaviors. In the downstream direction, it utilizes CDN-related DNS responses to embed data, while retaining statistical covertness. We show DNS-sly achieves downstream throughput of up to 600 Bytes of raw hidden data per click on a regular Web page, making it a practical system in the context of a covert Web proxy service. We implement DNS-sly and evaluate it in a known censorship environment, demonstrating its real-world usability.

Prof. Aleksandar KuzmanovicFOCI '16 seeks to bring together researchers and practitioners working on means to study, detect, or circumvent practices that inhibit free and open communications on the Internet. The workshop program includes a keynote address by Matt Blaze, University of Pennsylvania, as well as paper presentations on designing circumvention systems, measuring network censorship, and assessing deployed technologies. FOCI '16 is co-located with the 25th USENIX Security Symposium.