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User mobile app encrypted activity detection

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Mobile users install different types of applications on their mobile devices based on their interests and needs and perform various activities on them (known as in-app activities). In this paper, we demonstrate that a passive eavesdropper can identify fine grained in-app activities by analysing encrypted network traffic information obtained by sniffing a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN). Even though encryption protocols are used to provide security over Internet communications, side channel data is still leaked from encrypted traffic. We utilise this data (frame length, inter arrival time and direction) to identify the in-app activities. Further as a first study of its kind, we show that it is possible to identify in-app activities accurately by observing a very small subset of traffic, rather than observing the entire transaction of an activity as presented in existing literature. To reach these observations, we evaluated 51 in-app activities from three popular social networking apps and identified more than 85% of them correctly using the Bayes Net machine learning algorithm.

Funding

U.K.-India Education Research Initiative (UKIERI) under Grant UGC-UKIERI2016-17-019

History

School

  • Loughborough University London

Published in

ESCC '21: The 2nd European Symposium on Computer and Communications

Pages

7-13

Source

The 2nd European Symposium on Computer and Communications (ESCC 2021)

Publisher

Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)

Publisher statement

© ACM 2021. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive Version of Record was published in ESCC '21: The 2nd European Symposium on Computer and Communications, http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/3478301.3478303.

Acceptance date

25/02/2021

Publication date

2021-04-16

Copyright date

2021

ISBN

9781450387491

Language

en

Location

Belgrade, Serbia

Event dates

16th April 2021 - 18th April 2021

Depositor

Dr Safak Dogan. Deposit date: 2 March 2021

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