SoK: The Evolution of Sybil Defense via Social Networks

Lorenzo Alvisi, Allen Clement, Alessandro Epasto, Silvio Lattanzi, and Alessandro Panconesi

Proceedings of the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (S&P (Oakland)) 2013.

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Distributed Systems, Security

Sybil attacks in which an adversary forges a potentially unbounded number of identities are a danger to distributed systems and online social networks. The goal of sybil defense is to accurately identify sybil identities. This paper surveys the evolution of sybil defense protocols that leverage the structural properties of the social graph underlying a distributed system to identify sybil identities. We make two main contributions. First, we clarify the deep con- nection between sybil defense and the theory of random walks. This leads us to identify a community detection algorithm that, for the first time, offers provable guarantees in the context of sybil defense. Second, we advocate a new goal for sybil defense that addresses the more limited, but practically useful, goal of securely white-listing a local region of the graph.