Mixnets are a fundamental type of anonymous communication system and recent
academic research has made progress in designing Mixnets that are scalable,
have sustainable communication/computation overhead, and/or provable security.
We focus our work on stratified Mixnets, a popular design with real-world
adoption. The security of many designs rely on the anytrust assumption where at
least one server in the user’s path must be honest. We identify the critical
role Mixnet topological configuration algorithms play for user anonymity, and
propose Bow-Tie, a performant topological engineering design for Mixnets that
further ensures the anytrust assumption holds realized by introducing guard
mixes. To draw actionable conclusions, we perform an analysis of the best
realistic and resource-bounded adversarial strategies against each of the
studied algorithms, and evaluate security metrics against each best adversarial
strategy. Moreover, we highlight the need for a temporal security analysis and
develop routesim, a simulator to evaluate the effect of temporal dynamics and
user behaviors over the Mixnet. The resulting security notions are
complementary to the state-of-the-art entropic definitions. The simulator is
designed to help Mixnets developers in assessing the devil in the details
resulting from design decisions. Ultimately, our results suggest strong
potential improvements to current designs and guidance for shaping Mix

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