22C3: Darknet


The last day had fewer talks. There was an interesting talk about the UN (WSIS). But the best was the Freenet talk. Freenet is possibly the most important Internet project. Freenet is a decentralized censorship-resistant peer-to-peer distributed data store. Freenet works by pooling the contributed bandwidth and storage space of member computers to allow users to anonymously publish or retrieve various kinds of information. However, I know little about Freenet and went to this talk hoping to learn more. I didn’t learn too much about Freenet at this talk, but what they had to say was very interesting. This talk made the whole conference worth going to (maybe you saw it at Defcon 13).

One problem with Freenet is that the Chinese government or RIAA can log onto Freenet, look at their peers, and arrest them for using Freenet. The typical solution is to build a friends-only darknet like WASTE, but these networks are small and isolated. What the Freenet authors have managed to do is automagically route through a social network.

A network is a small-world network if there exists a metric on the nodes such the the number of links of length n is O(n−1). In this case greedy routing runs in O(log2 n) steps. What Freenet will do is place new users randomly on a ring, and then randomly swap two user’s positions if it reduces the product of the link distances. Over time this should impose a small-world metric on the nodes, if one exists.

What fantastic work.

Other nice events included learning how to get free (free load) wireless access at airports. You find someone who is paying for wireless access. You copy their MAC and IP addresses and shut down all your TCP traffic. Then you set up a UDP tunnel to your home server. Very cute.


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Russell O’Connor: contact me