Privacy-Preserving Symptoms-to-Disease Mapping on Smartphones


Information-Centric Networking (ICN) is an emerging networking paradigm where named and routable data (content) is the focal point. Users send explicit requests (interests) which specify content by name, and the network handles routing these interests to some entity capable of satisfying them with the appropriate data response (producer). One key feature of ICN is opportunistic in-network content caching. This property facilitates efficient content distribution by reducing bandwidth consumption, lessening network congestion, and improving the content retrieval latency by users (consumers). Unfortunately, the same feature is also detrimental to privacy of content consumers and producers. Simple to implement, and difficult to detect, timing attacks can exploit ICN routers as “oracles” and allow an adversary to learn whether a nearby consumer recently requested certain content. The attack leverages a timing side channel that relies on router caches and is implemented by requesting a few packets from each piece of content being probed. Similarly, probing attacks that target content producers can be used to discover whether certain content has been recently distributed. After analyzing the scope and feasibility of such attacks, we propose and evaluate some efficient countermeasures that offer quantifiable privacy guarantees while retaining the benefits of ICN.

Conference on Mobile and information Technologies in Medicine (MobileMed)