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Encrypted Web traffic can reveal highly sensitive information

Jeremy Kirk | June 25, 2014
Analyzing encrypted Web traffic can potentially reveal highly sensitive information such as medical conditions and sexual orientation, according to a research paper that forecasts how privacy on the Internet may erode.

There are still complications that hamper pattern identification in encrypted web traffic. For example, different operating systems, devices and locations of devices could make the Web traffic appear more diverse and harder to identify.

The research also assumes that a person is browsing the Web through a single tab in their web browser. It was unclear to the researchers how much traffic might be generated by other open tabs and if it could be separated.

Those conditions would also impact how to defend against an attack, as "realistic conditions may substantially contribute to an effective defense," they wrote.

The paper was co-authored by Brad Miller, A.D. Joseph and J.D. Tygar of the University of California at Berkeley and Ling Huang of Intel Labs.

 

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