Using Secure Real-time Padding Protocol to Secure Voice-over-IP from Traffic Analysis Attacks
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Voice Over IP (VoIP) systems and transmission technologies have now become the norm for many communications applications. However, whether they are used for personal communication or priority business conferences and talks, privacy and confidentiality of the communication is of utmost priority. The present industry standard is to encrypt VoIP calls using Secure Real-time Transport Protocol (SRTP), aided by ZRTP, but this methodology remains vulnerable to traffic analysis attacks, some of which utilize the length of the encrypted packets to infer the language and spoken phrases of the conversation. Secure Real-time Padding Protocol (SRPP) is a new RTP profile which pads all VoIP sessions in a unique way to thwart traffic analysis attacks on encrypted calls. It pads every RTP or SRTP packet to a predefined packet size, adds dummy packets at the end of every burst in a controllable way, adds dummy bursts to hide silence spurts, and hides information about the packet inter-arrival timings. This thesis discusses a few practical approaches and a theoretical optimization approach to packet size padding. SRPP has been implemented in the form of a library, libSRPP, for VoIP application developers and as an application, SQRKal, for regular users. SQRKal also serves as an extensive platform for implementation and verification of new packet padding techniques.
Mohanty, Saswat (2011). Using Secure Real-time Padding Protocol to Secure Voice-over-IP from Traffic Analysis Attacks. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from