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Philipp Winter

Philipp Winter

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Computer Science, Princeton University

I am interested in computer networks and security, and why the two don't get along very well. I enjoy being part of all phases of a research project—from sketching ideas on a whiteboard, to implementation, and finally deployment and maintenance. To this end, I have worked in the three research areas listed below. I keep maintaining code I have developed in these research projects, so they are open-ended in some sense.

Keeping bad actors out of the Tor network
As communities grow in size, it becomes increasingly hard to keep out bad actors, and Tor is no exception because the network is run by volunteers. In 2013, I started developing exitmap, a fast and flexible scanner for Tor exit relays. If you have a background in functional programming, think about it as a map() interface for Tor exit relays. It allows you to run arbitrary, TCP-based tests over each exit relay. One of the main tasks of exitmap is to expose and block malicious and misbehaving exit relays. I recently broadened my scope to Sybil relays, sets of Tor relays that are under the control of a single entity. I am developing sybilhunter which is meant to assist in finding and analysing Sybils.

Censorship analysis
Early on in my Ph.D. studies, I became interested in the Great Firewall of China (GFW). I was first exposed to the GFW in 2011, when trying to understand how it blocks the Tor network. I have since revisited the topic several times, to understand how the GFW fails over space and time, and how its active probing component is designed. As part of my work on the Tor network, I also helped characterise—and circumvent—a censorship system in Ethiopia.

Traffic obfuscation
Motivated by my work on censorship systems, I became interested in traffic obfuscation, i.e., shaping network traffic in a way that it is hard to classify and block. I started by developing a small tool for server-side circumvention. It was designed to prevent the GFW from recognising Tor handshakes on the wire. The tool transparently rewrites the window size in a SYN-ACK segment, forcing the client to split its initial payload across two segment instead of one. Back in 2012, the GFW would not reassemble TCP streams, rendering it unable to spot circumvention traffic “protected” by this tool. I then went on and developed ScrambleSuit, a polymorphic traffic obfuscation protocol. ScrambleSuit can protect against the GFW's active probing attacks by relying on a “password” that is shared between client and server. ScrambleSuit has since been superseded by the faster and more elegant obfs4, which is no longer maintained by me.

Tor upgrades to make anonymous publishing safer

Mar 20, 2017 01:56 am UTC| Technology

In the coming months, the Seattle-based nonprofit The Tor Project will be making some changes to improve how the Tor network protects users privacy and security. The free network lets users browse the internet anonymously....

Securing web browsing: protecting the Tor network

May 18, 2016 08:28 am UTC| Insights & Views Technology

There are more than 865 encryption tools in use worldwide, all addressing different aspects of a common problem. People want to protect information: hard drives from oppressive governments, physical location from stalkers,...

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Economy

U.S. Treasuries jump ahead of Jackson Hole Symposium, FOMC Kaplan’s speech

The U.S. Treasuries jumped Wednesday as investors wait to watch the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) member Kaplans speech, scheduled to be held today by 13:05GMT. Also, markets remain focussed to observe the speeches...

UK gilts continue to remain flat ahead of Q2 GDP

The UK gilts traded flat as investors wait to watch the countrys second-quarter gross domestic product, due to be released on August 24 by 08:30GMT. The yield on the benchmark 10-year gilts, hovered around 1.08 percent,...

German bonds slump after manufacturing PMI surges in August; Q2 GDP in focus

The German government bonds slumped Tuesday after the countrys manufacturing PMI surged during the month of August. Also, investors remained focussed to read the countrys second-quarter gross domestic product, scheduled to...

Global economic growth likely to maintain recent pace, support Australian economy: St George Economics

The Australian economy has enjoyed 25-1/2 years of economic growth without a recession. It is an impressive achievement, with Australia having overtaken the Netherlands previous record for the longest stretch of economic...

Japan manufacturing PMI improves to 3-month high in August

Today sees the latest public release of the Nikkei Flash Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI). Published on a monthly basis approximately one week before final PMI data are released, this makes the PMI the...

Politics

A major uprising in Jerusalem and beyond is just a few missteps away

The last thing the Middle East needs is a major conflagration in Israel-Palestine but a summer crisis in Jerusalem made it clear that in the right circumstances, it really could happen. The crisis began in the early...

Charlottesville, Virginia: the history of the statue at the centre of violent unrest

The violent scenes in Charlottesville, Virginia, that led to the death of one woman and left many more injured began as a dispute over a statue of General Robert E. Lee, which sits in a local public park. However, the...

Charlottesville, Donald Trump, and the dark side of American populism

Charlottesville, Virginia is home to the University of Virginia, founded by Thomas Jefferson; he was a slave owner, but today stands as a symbol of the USs egalitarian ethos and political myth. But on August 12, some seven...

Is liking something on Facebook 'protected political speech'? It depends

Australians are often surprised to learn that their Constitution contains no right to free speech. Even the right to political speech, which is constitutionally implied, is increasingly complicated by new online platforms...

Why the withering nuclear power industry threatens US national security

These are tough times for nuclear power in the U.S. Power plants under construction are facing serious delays, halts and cost overruns. Utilities in South Carolina abandoned a project to complete construction of two power...

Science

Scientists Advance 3D-Printed Living Tissue, Artificial Organ Creation

When most people think of 3D-printing, they imagine plastic or metal objects such as furniture or machine parts. However, scientists have been working on printing living tissue as well, which would allow scientists to...

Eclipse of reason: Why do people disbelieve scientists?

If youve been paying attention, you know that on Aug. 21, were in for a special cosmic treat: the Great American Eclipse of 2017. The moons shadow will track a 4,000-kilometre course across the continental United States...

Hackers Spread Malware Via DNA, Could Destroy Police Computer Networks

Scientists and engineers have been pushing the digital frontier for decades and they have just pushed the boundaries towards new territory. Encoding a malware in DNA, scientists were able to infect computers that tried to...

Scientists Discover New Type Of Brain Cells That Could Lead To Hyperintelligence

While tech revolutionaries like Elon Musk prefer to merge man with machine in order to make humans smarter, stronger, and better, others prefer a more biological approach. A team of scientists recently discovered new types...

Expert Warns Of CRISPR Causing Class Warfare

Humanity is living in an interesting age, where scientists can finally start manipulating the human genome in ways that were not possible before due to CRISPR. Many have even hypothesized that through these amazing...

Technology

AI’s Music Album Released With Song Lyrics From YouTuber

For some time now, artificial intelligence and machine learning have been the subject of intense debate and speculation as to what they are capable of. Recently, an album was released with the music created completely by...

BioShock 10th Anniversary Collector’s Edition Is Coming, It Costs $200

BioWare is about to give collectors who are fans of the BioShock franchise a treat come November when its BioShock 10th Anniversary Collectors Edition package arrives. Its a limited offer that comes with a BioShock: The...

Shenmue 3 Trailer Finally Released, Tempering Expectations Advised

The action RPG Shenmue franchise has had a cult following since its launch in earlier console generations. Since then, the third title has had to be crowdfunded, with expectations for the end result being high. A trailer...

HTC Vive Gets $200 Cheaper Following Similar Oculus Rift Tactic

Last month, Oculus decided to slash the price of its high-end virtual reality headset, the Rift in order to make it more appealing to mass consumers. This time, its HTCs turn to make its incredibly expensive Vive unit...

Xbox One X Project Scorpio Edition Sold Out In All Stores

During the 2017 Gamescom event on Sunday, Microsoft finally launched pre-orders for the special edition of its upcoming super-powered console the Xbox One X called the Xbox One X Project Scorpio. The name is obviously an...
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August 23 15:30 UTC Released

BRForeign Exchange Flows*

Actual

3.435 Bln USD

Forecast

Previous

2.528 Bln USD

August 23 14:00 UTC Released

USNew Home Sales Chg MM*

Actual

-9.4 %

Forecast

0.3 %

Previous

0.8 %

August 23 23:50 UTC 487487m

JPForeign Bond Investment

Actual

Forecast

Previous

-145.5 bln JPY

August 23 23:50 UTC 487487m

JPForeign Invest JP Stock

Actual

Forecast

Previous

-302.5 bln JPY

August 24 00:00 UTC 497497m

ARTrade Balance*

Actual

Forecast

-495 mln $

Previous

-748 mln $

August 24 06:45 UTC 902902m

FRBusiness Climate

Actual

Forecast

108 %

Previous

109 %

August 24 08:30 UTC 10071007m

GBGDP 2nd Release QQ

Actual

Forecast

0.3 %

Previous

0.3 %

August 24 08:30 UTC 10071007m

GBGDP 2nd Release YY

Actual

Forecast

1.7 %

Previous

1.7 %

August 24 08:30 UTC 10071007m

GBBusiness Invest QQ Prelim

Actual

Forecast

0.4 %

Previous

0.6 %

August 24 08:30 UTC 10071007m

GBBusiness Invest YY Prelim

Actual

Forecast

0.5 %

Previous

0.7 %

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