1. bookVolume 2019 (2019): Issue 3 (July 2019)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
First Published
16 Apr 2015
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
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English
access type Open Access

Keeping the Smart Home Private with Smart(er) IoT Traffic Shaping

Published Online: 12 Jul 2019
Page range: 128 - 148
Received: 30 Nov 2018
Accepted: 16 Mar 2019
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
First Published
16 Apr 2015
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English

The proliferation of smart home Internet of things (IoT) devices presents unprecedented challenges for preserving privacy within the home. In this paper, we demonstrate that a passive network observer (e.g., an Internet service provider) can infer private in-home activities by analyzing Internet traffic from commercially available smart home devices even when the devices use end-to-end transport-layer encryption. We evaluate common approaches for defending against these types of traffic analysis attacks, including firewalls, virtual private networks, and independent link padding, and find that none sufficiently conceal user activities with reasonable data overhead. We develop a new defense, “stochastic traffic padding” (STP), that makes it difficult for a passive network adversary to reliably distinguish genuine user activities from generated traffic patterns designed to look like user interactions. Our analysis provides a theoretical bound on an adversary’s ability to accurately detect genuine user activities as a function of the amount of additional cover traffic generated by the defense technique.

Keywords

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