Data Structures with Unpredictable Timing

  • Darrell Bethea
  • Michael K. Reiter
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5789)


A range of attacks on network components, such as algorithmic denial-of-service attacks and cryptanalysis via timing attacks, are enabled by data structures for which an adversary can predict the durations of operations that he will induce on the data structure. In this paper we introduce the problem of designing data structures that confound an adversary attempting to predict the timing of future operations he induces, even if he has adaptive and exclusive access to the data structure and the timings of past operations. We also design a data structure for implementing a set (supporting membership query, insertion, and deletion) that exhibits timing unpredictability and that retains its efficiency despite adversarial attacks. To demonstrate these advantages, we develop a framework by which an adversary tracks a probability distribution on the data structure’s state based on the timings it emitted, and infers invocations to meet his attack goals.


Binary Search Tree Average Entropy Abstract Data Type Linked List Unpredictable Timing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Darrell Bethea
    • 1
  • Michael K. Reiter
    • 1
  1. 1.University of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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