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TSS Seminar: Rob Johnson: "Website Fingerprinting Attacks and Defenses"

Event Type
Information Trust Institute
2405 Siebel Center
May 2, 2012   4:00 pm  
Rob Johnson, Stony Brook University



This talk will present a novel web page fingerprinting attack that is able to defeat several recently proposed defenses against traffic analysis attacks, including Tor, traffic morphing, HTTPOS, and randomized pipelining over Tor. Regardless of the defense scheme, the attack was able to guess which of 100 web pages a victim was visiting at least 50% of the time and, with some defenses, over 90% of the time. The attack is based on a simple model of network behavior and outperforms previously proposed ad hoc attacks. I will then describe a web site fingerprinting attack that is able to identify whether a victim is visiting a particular web site with over 90% accuracy in our experiments.


These results strongly suggest that ad hoc defenses against traffic analysis are not likely to succeed. I will cover ongoing work to develop a defense that is practical, efficient, and provably secure.





Rob Johnson is an Assistant Professor at Stony Brook University and conducts research in Software Security, System Security, Usable Security, and Cryptography. Rob is director of the Security, Privacy, And Theory (SPLAT) lab at Stony Brook, the Cryptography Lab at the New York Center for Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology (CEWIT), and the Smart Grid Cyber-security Testing Lab of the New York Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center (AERTC). He graduated from UC Berkeley in 2006, where he studied with David Wagner.

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