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Linking network flows is an important problem in intrusion detection as well as anonymity. Passive traffic analysis can link flows but requires long periods of observation to reduce errors. Active traffic analysis, also known as flow watermarking, allows for better precision and is more scalable. Previous flow watermarks introduce significant delays to the traffic flow as a side effect of using a blind detection scheme; this enables attacks that detect and remove the watermark, while at the same time slowing down legitimate traffic. The authors propose the first non-blind approach for flow watermarking, called RAINBOW, that improves watermark invisibility by inserting delays hundreds of times smaller than previous blind watermarks, hence reduces the watermark interference on network flows.
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