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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. Watermarking techniques allow for better precision and blind detection, but they do so by introducing significant delays to the traffic flow, enabling attacks that detect and remove the mark, while at the same time slowing down legitimate traffic. The authors propose a new, non-blind watermarking scheme called RAINBOW that is able to use delays hundreds of times smaller than existing watermarks by eliminating the interference caused by the flow in the blind case. As a result, their watermark is invisible to detection, as confirmed by experiments using information-theoretic detection tools.
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