Sybil-Resistant Pseudonymization and Pseudonym Change without Trusted Third Parties
Author: M. Florian, J. Walter, I. Baumgart links:
Source: Proceedings of the 14th Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society (WPES), Denver, Colorado, USA, October 2015
The issuing of pseudonyms is an established approach for protecting the privacy of users while limiting access and preventing sybil attacks. To prevent pseudonym deanonymization through continuous observation and correlation, frequent and unlinkable pseudonym changes must be enabled. Existing approaches for realizing sybil-resistant pseudonymization and pseudonym change (PPC) are either inherently dependent on trusted third parties (TTPs) or involve significant computation overhead at end-user devices. In this paper, we investigate a novel, TTP-independent approach towards sybil-resistant PPC. Our proposal is based on the use of cryptocurrency block chains as general-purpose, append-only bulletin boards. We present a general approach as well as BitNym, a specific design based on the unmodified Bitcoin network. We discuss and propose TTP-independent mechanisms for realizing sybil-free initial access control, pseudonym validation and pseudonym mixing. Evaluation results demonstrate the practical feasibility of our approach and show that anonymity sets encompassing nearly the complete user population are easily achievable.