4th International ICST Conference on Security and Privacy in Communication Networks

Research Article

Attacking the Kad Network

  • @INPROCEEDINGS{10.1145/1460877.1460907,
        author={Peng Wang and James Tyra and Eric Chan-Tin and Tyson Malchow and Denis Foo Kune and Nicholas Hopper and Yongdae Kim},
        title={Attacking the Kad Network},
        proceedings={4th International ICST Conference on Security and Privacy in Communication Networks},
        keywords={P2P Security Attack Kad},
  • Peng Wang
    James Tyra
    Eric Chan-Tin
    Tyson Malchow
    Denis Foo Kune
    Nicholas Hopper
    Yongdae Kim
    Year: 2008
    Attacking the Kad Network
    DOI: 10.1145/1460877.1460907
Peng Wang1,*, James Tyra1,*, Eric Chan-Tin1,*, Tyson Malchow1,*, Denis Foo Kune1,*, Nicholas Hopper1,*, Yongdae Kim1,*
  • 1: University of Minnesota - Twin Cities 200 Union Street SE Minneapolis, MN 55455
*Contact email: pwang@cs.umn.edu, tyra@cs.umn.edu, dchantin@cs.umn.edu, malchow@cs.umn.edu, foo@cs.umn.edu, hopper@cs.umn.edu, kyd@cs.umn.edu


The Kad network, an implementation of the Kademlia DHT protocol, supports the popular eDonkey peer-to-peer file sharing network and has over 1 million concurrent nodes. We describe several attacks that exploit critical design weaknesses in Kad to allow an attacker with modest resources to cause a significant fraction of all searches to fail. We measure the cost and effectiveness of these attacks against a set of 16,000 nodes connected to the operational Kad network. We also measure the cost of previously proposed, generic DHT attacks against the Kad network and find that our attacks are much more cost effective. Finally, we introduce and evaluate simple mechanisms to significantly increase the cost of these attacks.