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In this paper the authors introduce Social VPNs, a novel system architecture which leverages existing social networking infrastructures to enable ad-hoc VPNs which are self-configuring, self-managing, yet maintain security against untrusted parties. The key principles in the approach are: self-configuring virtual network overlays enable seamless bi-directional IP-layer connectivity among parties linked by means of social connections; social networking infrastructures greatly facilitate the establishment of trust relationships among parties, and these can be seamlessly integrated with existing public-key cryptography implementations to authenticate and encrypt traffic flows on overlay links end-to-end; and knowledge of social connections can be used to improve the performance of overlay routing.
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