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  1. Recent website fingerprinting attacks have been shown to achieve very high performance against traffic through Tor. These attacks allow an adversary to deduce the website a Tor user has visited by simply eavesdropping on the encrypted communication. This has consequently motivated the development of many defense strategies that obfuscate traffic through the addition of dummy packets and/or delays. The efficacy and practicality of many of these recent proposals have yet to be scrutinized in detail. In this study, we re-evaluate nine recent defense proposals that claim to provide adequate security with low-overheads using the latest Deep Learning-based attacks. Furthermore, we assess the feasibility of implementing these defenses within the current confines of Tor. To this end, we additionally provide the first on-network implementation of the DynaFlow defense to better assess its real-world utility. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
  2. Malicious software (malware) classification offers a unique challenge for continual learning (CL) regimes due to the volume of new samples received on a daily basis and the evolution of malware to exploit new vulnerabilities. On a typical day, antivirus vendors receive hundreds of thousands of unique pieces of software, both malicious and benign, and over the course of the lifetime of a malware classifier, more than a billion samples can easily accumulate. Given the scale of the problem, sequential training using continual learning techniques could provide substantial benefits in reducing training and storage overhead. To date, however, there has been no exploration of CL applied to malware classification tasks. In this paper, we study 11 CL techniques applied to three malware tasks covering common incremental learning scenarios, including task, class, and domain incremental learning (IL). Specifically, using two realistic, large-scale malware datasets, we evaluate the performance of the CL methods on both binary malware classification (Domain-IL) and multi-class malware family classification (Task-IL and Class-IL) tasks. To our surprise, continual learning methods significantly underperformed naive Joint replay of the training data in nearly all settings – in some cases reducing accuracy by more than 70 percentage points. A simple approach of selectively replaying 20% of the stored data achieves better performance, with 50% of the training time compared to Joint replay. Finally, we discuss potential reasons for the unexpectedly poor performance of the CL techniques, with the hope that it spurs further research on developing techniques that are more effective in the malware classification domain. 
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  3. End-to-end flow correlation attacks are among the oldest known attacks on low-latency anonymity networks, and are treated as a core primitive for traffic analysis of Tor. However, despite recent work showing that individual flows can be correlated with high accuracy, the impact of even these state-of-the-art attacks is questionable due to a central drawback: their pairwise nature, requiring comparison between N2 pairs of flows to deanonymize N users. This results in a combinatorial explosion in computational requirements and an asymptotically declining base rate, leading to either high numbers of false positives or vanishingly small rates of successful correlation. In this paper, we introduce a novel flow correlation attack, DeepCoFFEA, that combines two ideas to overcome these drawbacks. First, DeepCoFFEA uses deep learning to train a pair of feature embedding networks that respectively map Tor and exit flows into a single low-dimensional space where correlated flows are similar; pairs of embedded flows can be compared at lower cost than pairs of full traces. Second, DeepCoFFEA uses amplification, dividing flows into short windows and using voting across these windows to significantly reduce false positives; the same embedding networks can be used with an increasing number of windows to independently lower the false positive rate. We conduct a comprehensive experimental analysis showing that DeepCoFFEA significantly outperforms state-of-the-art flow correlation attacks on Tor, e.g. 93% true positive rate versus at most 13% when tuned for high precision, with two orders of magnitude speedup over prior work. We also consider the effects of several potential countermeasures on DeepCoFFEA, finding that existing lightweight defenses are not sufficient to secure anonymity networks from this threat. 
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  4. It is estimated that by the year 2024, the total number of systems equipped with voice assistant software will exceed 8.4 billion devices globally. While these devices provide convenience to consumers, they suffer from a myriad of security issues. This paper highlights the serious privacy threats exposed by information leakage in a smart assistant's encrypted network traffic metadata. To investigate this issue, we have collected a new dataset composed of dynamic and static commands posed to an Amazon Echo Dot using data collection and cleaning scripts we developed. Furthermore, we propose the Smart Home Assistant Malicious Ensemble model (SHAME) as the new state-of-the-art Voice Command Fingerprinting classifier. When evaluated against several datasets, our attack correctly classifies encrypted voice commands with up to 99.81% accuracy on Google Home traffic and 95.2% accuracy on Amazon Echo Dot traffic. These findings show that security measures must be taken to stop internet service providers, nation-states, and network eavesdroppers from monitoring our intimate conversations. 
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  5. null (Ed.)
    Abstract We introduce Generative Adversarial Networks for Data-Limited Fingerprinting (GANDaLF), a new deep-learning-based technique to perform Website Fingerprinting (WF) on Tor traffic. In contrast to most earlier work on deep-learning for WF, GANDaLF is intended to work with few training samples, and achieves this goal through the use of a Generative Adversarial Network to generate a large set of “fake” data that helps to train a deep neural network in distinguishing between classes of actual training data. We evaluate GANDaLF in low-data scenarios including as few as 10 training instances per site, and in multiple settings, including fingerprinting of website index pages and fingerprinting of non-index pages within a site. GANDaLF achieves closed-world accuracy of 87% with just 20 instances per site (and 100 sites) in standard WF settings. In particular, GANDaLF can outperform Var-CNN and Triplet Fingerprinting (TF) across all settings in subpage fingerprinting. For example, GANDaLF outperforms TF by a 29% margin and Var-CNN by 38% for training sets using 20 instances per site. 
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    Visually similar characters, or homoglyphs, can be used to perform social engineering attacks or to evade spam and plagiarism detectors. It is thus important to understand the capabilities of an attacker to identify homoglyphs - particularly ones that have not been previously spotted - and leverage them in attacks. We investigate a deep-learning model using embedding learning, transfer learning, and augmentation to determine the visual similarity of characters and thereby identify potential homoglyphs. Our approach uniquely takes advantage of weak labels that arise from the fact that most characters are not homoglyphs. Our model drastically outperforms the Normal-ized Compression Distance approach on pairwise homoglyph identification, for which we achieve an average precision of 0.97. We also present the first attempt at clustering homoglyphs into sets of equivalence classes, which is more efficient than pairwise information for security practitioners to quickly lookup homoglyphs or to normalize confusable string encodings. To measure clustering performance, we propose a metric (mBIOU) building on the classic Intersection-Over-Union (IOU) metric. Our clustering method achieves 0.592 mBIOU, compared to 0.430 for the naive baseline. We also use our model to predict over 8,000 previously unknown homoglyphs, and find good early indications that many of these may be true positives. Source code and list of predicted homoglyphs are uploaded to Github: https://github.com/PerryXDeng/weaponizing_unicode. 
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  8. null (Ed.)
    The creation and distribution of child sexual abuse materials (CSAM) involves a continuing violation of the victims? privacy beyond the original harms they document. A large volume of these materials is distributed via the Freenet anonymity network: in our observations, nearly one third of requests on Freenet were for known CSAM. In this paper, we propose and evaluate a novel approach for investigating these violations of exploited children's privacy. Our forensic method distinguishes whether or not a neighboring peer is the actual uploader or downloader of a file or merely a relayer. Our method requires analysis of the traffic sent to a single, passive node only. We evaluate our method extensively. Our in situ measurements of actual CSAM requests show an FPR of 0.002 ± 0.003 for identifying downloaders. And we show an FPR of 0.009 ± 0.018, a precision of 1.00 ± 0.01, and a TPR of 0.44 ± 0.01 for identifying uploaders based on in situ tests. Further, we derive expressions for the FPR and Power of our hypothesis test; perform simulations of single and concurrent downloaders; and characterize the Freenet network to inform parameter selection. We were participants in several United States Federal Court cases in which the use of our method was uniformly upheld. 
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  9. null (Ed.)
    As machine learning is deployed in more settings, including in security-sensitive applications such as malware detection, the risks posed by adversarial examples that fool machine-learning classifiers have become magnified. Black-box attacks are especially dangerous, as they only require the attacker to have the ability to query the target model and observe the labels it returns, without knowing anything else about the model. Current black-box attacks either have low success rates, require a high number of queries, produce adversarial images that are easily distinguishable from their sources, or are not flexible in controlling the outcome of the attack. In this paper, we present AdversarialPSO, (Code available: https://github.com/rhm6501/AdversarialPSOImages) a black-box attack that uses few queries to create adversarial examples with high success rates. AdversarialPSO is based on Particle Swarm Optimization, a gradient-free evolutionary search algorithm, with special adaptations to make it effective for the black-box setting. It is flexible in balancing the number of queries submitted to the target against the quality of the adversarial examples. We evaluated AdversarialPSO on CIFAR-10, MNIST, and Imagenet, achieving success rates of 94.9%, 98.5%, and 96.9%, respectively, while submitting numbers of queries comparable to prior work. Our results show that black-box attacks can be adapted to favor fewer queries or higher quality adversarial images, while still maintaining high success rates. 
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    Abstract A passive local eavesdropper can leverage Website Fingerprinting (WF) to deanonymize the web browsing activity of Tor users. The value of timing information to WF has often been discounted in recent works 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 first propose a new set of timing-related features based on burst-level characteristics to further identify more ways that timing patterns could be used by classifiers to identify sites. Then we evaluate the effectiveness of both raw timing and directional timing which is a combination of raw timing and direction in a deep-learning-based WF attack. Our closed-world evaluation shows that directional timing performs best in most of the settings we explored, achieving: (i) 98.4% in undefended Tor traffic; (ii) 93.5% on WTF-PAD traffic, several points higher than when only directional information is used; and (iii) 64.7% against onion sites, 12% higher than using only direction. Further evaluations in the open-world setting show small increases in both precision (+2%) and recall (+6%) with directional-timing on WTF-PAD traffic. To further investigate the value of timing information, we perform an information leakage analysis on our proposed handcrafted features. Our results show that while timing features leak less information than directional features, the information contained in each feature is mutually exclusive to one another and can thus improve the robustness of a classifier. 
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