Walls Have Ears: Traffic-based Side-channel Attack In Video Streaming

Jiaxi Gu Northwestern Polytechnical University, P.R. China
Jiliang Wang Tsinghua University, P.R. China
Zhiwen Yu Northwestern Polytechnical University, P.R. China
Kele Shen Tsinghua University, P.R. China


Video streaming takes up an increasing proportion of network traffic nowadays. Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH) becomes the de facto standard of video streaming and it is adopted by Youtube, Netflix, etc. Despite of the popularity, network traffic during video streaming shows identifiable pattern which brings threat to user privacy. In this paper, we propose a video identification method using network traffic while streaming. Though there is bitrate adaptation in DASH streaming, we observe that the video bitrate trend remains relatively stable because of the widely used Variable Bit-Rate (VBR) encoding. Accordingly, we design a robust video feature extraction method for eavesdropped video streaming traffic. Meanwhile, we design a VBR based video fingerprinting method for candidate video set which can be built using downloaded video files. Finally, we propose an efficient partial matching method for computing similarities between video fingerprints and streaming traces to derive video identities. We evaluate our attack method in different scenarios for various video content, segment lengths and quality levels. The experimental results show that the identification accuracy can reach up to 90% using only three-minute continuous network traffic eavesdropping.

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