Ryan Wails, Yixin Sun, Aaron Johnson, Mung Chiang and Prateek Mittal
Many recent proposals for anonymous communication omit from their security analyses a consideration of the effects of time on important system components. In practice, many components of anonymity systems, such as the client location and network structure, exhibit changes and patterns over time. In this paper, we focus on the effect of such temporal dynamics on the security of anonymity networks. We present Tempest, a suite of novel attacks based on (1) client mobility, (2) usage patterns, and (3) changes in the underlying network routing. Using experimental analysis on real-world datasets, we demonstrate that these temporal attacks degrade user privacy across a wide range of anonymity networks, including deployed systems such as Tor; pathselection protocols for Tor such as DeNASA, TAPS, and Counter-RAPTOR; and network-layer anonymity protocols for Internet routing such as Dovetail and HORNET. The degradation is in some cases surprisingly severe. For example, a single host failure or network route change could quickly and with high certainty identify the client’s ISP to a malicious host or ISP. The adversary behind each attack is relatively weak – generally passive and in control of one network location or a small number of hosts. Our findings suggest that designers of anonymity systems should rigorously consider the impact of temporal dynamics when analyzing anonymity.
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The widespread deployment of smart meters that frequently report energy consumption information, is a known threat to consumers’ privacy. Many promising privacy protection mechanisms based on secure aggregation schemes have been proposed. Even though these schemes are cryptographically secure, the energy provider has access to the plaintext aggregated power consumption. A privacy trade-off exists between the size of the aggregation scheme and the personal data that might be leaked, where smaller aggregation sizes leak more personal data. Recently, a UK industrial body has studied this privacy trade-off and identified that two smart meters forming an aggregate, are sufficient to achieve privacy. In this work, we challenge this study and investigate which aggregation sizes are sufficient to achieve privacy in the smart grid. Therefore, we propose a flexible, yet formal privacy metric using a cryptographic game based definition. Studying publicly-available, real world energy consumption datasets with various temporal resolutions, ranging from minutes to hourly intervals, we show that a typical household can be identified with very high probability. For example, we observe a 50% advantage over random guessing in identifying households for an aggregation size of 20 households with a 15-minutes reporting interval. Furthermore, our results indicate that single appliances can be identified with significant probability in aggregation sizes up to 10 households.
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