Meet the Faculty Lecture: Aleksandar Kuzmanovic

"Mosaic: Quantifying Privacy Leakage in Mobile Networks"
February 26, 2014
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Abstract In this talk, accessible to everyone, Prof. Aleksandar Kuzmanovic presented a measurement study on privacy challenges in mobile networks.

In particular, with the proliferation of online social networking (OSN) and mobile devices, preserving user privacy has become a great challenge. While prior studies have directly focused on OSN services, we call attention to the privacy leakage in mobile network data. This concern is motivated by two factors. First, the prevalence of OSN usage leaves identifiable digital footprints that can be traced back to users in the real-world. Second, the association between users and their mobile devices makes it easier to associate traffic to its owners. These pose a serious threat to user privacy as they enable an adversary to attribute significant portions of data traffic including the ones with no identity leaks to network users' true identities. To demonstrate its feasibility, we develop the Tessellation methodology. By applying Tessellation on traffic from a cellular service provider (CSP), we show that significant portions of the traffic can be attributed to the names of users. In addition to revealing the user identity, the reconstructed profile, dubbed as "mosaic," associates personal information such as political views, browsing habits, and favorite apps to the users.

Bio: Prof. Aleksandar Kuzmanovic is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Northwestern University. His research interests are in the area of computer networking with emphasis on design, measurements, analysis, denial-of-service resiliency, and prototype implementation of protocols and algorithms for the Internet. He is most well-known for his pioneering work on low-rate denial-of-service attacks, TCP congestion control, and data sharing methods for Internet-scale systems. He has published more than 40 research papers in the most prestigious networking journals and conferences. He received the NSF CAREER Award. He is a member of the steering committee of the Measurement Lab, an open platform for monitoring net neutrality. He is a member of the advisory board of Narus, Inc and a co-founder of several startups.