Fighting Spam With the NeighborhoodWatch DHT

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Executive Summary

This paper presents DHTBL, an anti-spam blacklist built upon a novel secure Distributed Hash Table (DHT). They show how DHTBL can be used to replace existing DNS-based Blacklists (DNSBLs) of IP addresses of mail relays that forward spam. Implementing a blacklist on a DHT improves resilience to DoS attacks and secures message delivery, when compared to DNSBLs. However, due to the sensitive nature of the blacklist, storing the data in a peer-to-peer DHT would invite attackers to infiltrate the system. Typical DHTs can withstand fail-stop failures, but malicious nodes may provide incorrect routing information, refuse to return published items, or simply ignore certain queries. The NeighborhoodWatch DHT is resilient to malicious nodes and maintains the O(logN) bounds on routing table size and expected lookup time.

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