VerLoc: Verifiable Localization in Decentralized Systems

Authors: 

Katharina Kohls, Radboud University Nijmegen; Claudia Diaz, imec-COSIC KU Leuven and Nym Technologies SA

Abstract: 

We tackle the challenge of reliably determining the geolocation of nodes in decentralized networks, considering adversarial settings and without depending on any trusted landmarks. In particular, we consider active adversaries that control a subset of nodes, announce false locations and strategically manipulate measurements. To address this problem we propose, implement and evaluate VerLoc, a system that allows verifying the claimed geo-locations of network nodes in a fully decentralized manner. VerLoc securely schedules roundtrip time (RTT) measurements between randomly chosen pairs of nodes. Trilateration is then applied to the set of measurements to verify claimed geo-locations. We evaluate VerLoc both with simulations and in the wild using a prototype implementation integrated in the Nym network (currently run by thousands of nodes). We find that VerLoc can localize nodes in the wild with a median error of 60 km, and that in attack simulations it is capable of detecting and filtering out adversarial timing manipulations for network setups with up to 20 % malicious nodes.

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BibTeX
@inproceedings {277186,
title = {{VerLoc}: Verifiable Localization in Decentralized Systems},
booktitle = {31st USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 22)},
year = {2022},
address = {Boston, MA},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/usenixsecurity22/presentation/kohls},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug,
}