Maria Apostolaki (ETH Zurich), Gian Marti (ETH Zurich), Jan Müller (ETH Zurich), Laurent Vanbever (ETH Zurich)

Nowadays Internet routing attacks remain practi- cally effective as existing countermeasures either fail to provide protection guarantees or are not easily deployable. Blockchain systems are particularly vulnerable to such attacks as they rely on Internet-wide communications to reach consensus. In particular, Bitcoin—the most widely-used cryptocurrency—can be split in half by any AS-level adversary using BGP hijacking.

In this paper, we present SABRE, a secure and scalable Bitcoin relay network which relays blocks worldwide through a set of connections that are resilient to routing attacks. SABRE runs alongside the existing peer-to-peer network and is easily deployable. As a critical system, SABRE design is highly resilient and can efficiently handle high bandwidth loads, including Denial of Service attacks.

We built SABRE around two key technical insights. First, we leverage fundamental properties of inter-domain routing (BGP) policies to host relay nodes: (i) in networks that are inherently protected against routing attacks; and (ii) on paths that are economically-preferred by the majority of Bitcoin clients. These properties are generic and can be used to protect other Blockchain-based systems. Second, we leverage the fact that relaying blocks is communication-heavy, not computation-heavy. This enables us to offload most of the relay operations to programmable network hardware (using the P4 programming language). Thanks to this hardware/software co-design, SABRE nodes operate seamlessly under high load while mitigating the effects of malicious clients.

We present a complete implementation of SABRE together with an extensive evaluation. Our results demonstrate that SABRE is effective at securing Bitcoin against routing attacks, even with deployments of as few as 6 nodes.

View More Papers

TIMBER-V: Tag-Isolated Memory Bringing Fine-grained Enclaves to RISC-V

Samuel Weiser (Graz University of Technology), Mario Werner (Graz University of Technology), Ferdinand Brasser (Technische Universität Darmstadt), Maja Malenko (Graz University of Technology), Stefan Mangard (Graz University of Technology), Ahmad-Reza Sadeghi (Technische Universität Darmstadt)

Read More

On the Challenges of Geographical Avoidance for Tor

Katharina Kohls (Ruhr-University Bochum), Kai Jansen (Ruhr-University Bochum), David Rupprecht (Ruhr-University Bochum), Thorsten Holz (Ruhr-University Bochum), Christina Pöpper (New York University Abu Dhabi)

Read More

Quantity vs. Quality: Evaluating User Interest Profiles Using Ad...

Muhammad Ahmad Bashir (Northeastern University), Umar Farooq (LUMS Pakistan), Maryam Shahid (LUMS Pakistan), Muhammad Fareed Zaffar (LUMS Pakistan), Christo Wilson (Northeastern University)

Read More

TextBugger: Generating Adversarial Text Against Real-world Applications

Jinfeng Li (Zhejiang University), Shouling Ji (Zhejiang University), Tianyu Du (Zhejiang University), Bo Li (University of California, Berkeley), Ting Wang (Lehigh University)

Read More