Tik-Tok: The Utility of Packet Timing in Website Fingerprinting Attacks

by   Mohammad Saidur Rahman, et al.

A passive local eavesdropper can leverage Website Fingerprinting (WF) to deanonymize the web browsing activity of Tor users. The importance of timing information to WF has often been discounted in prior work due to the volatility of low-level timing information. In this paper, we more carefully examine the extent to which packet timing can be used to facilitate WF attacks. We propose a new set of timing-related features based on burst-level characteristics as well as evaluate the effectiveness of raw timing information. To summarize our findings: (i) we achieve 84.32 timing features; (ii) using directional timing, we get 93.46 traffic, several points above the prior state-of-the-art; (iii) we get 68.90 accuracy against onion sites using only timing data, higher than using only directional data; and (iv) we get 0.98 precision and 0.92 recall on undefended Tor in the open-world setting using only raw timing. These findings indicate that developers of WF defenses need to consider timing as a potential fingerprint for sites and protect against its use by the attacker. Additionally, in our study of timing, we implemented a prototype of Walkie-Talkie (W-T) defense and collected a new W-T dataset, on which we get accuracy results above 90 defense of 50 Walkie-Talkie that still must be addressed.



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