I know where you are: Thwarting privacy protection in location-based social discovery services

Minhui Xue, Yong Liu, Keith W. Ross, Haifeng Qian

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Location-based Social Discovery (LBSD) services enable users to discover their geographic neighborhoods to make new friends. Original LBSD services were designed to provide the exact distances to nearby users. It has been shown that it is easy to pinpoint any target user's location by using trilateration based on the exact distances from three fake GPS locations to the target user. To thwart the trilateration attack, contemporary LBSD services then began to report distances of nearby users in concentric bands, e.g., bands of 100 meters. In this paper, we investigate the user location privacy leakage problem in LBSD services reporting distances in discrete bands. Using number theory, we analytically show that by strategically placing multiple virtual probes with contrived fake GPS locations, one can nevertheless pinpoint user locations in band-based LBSD. Our methodology guarantees to pinpoint any reported user within an area bounded by one square meter, even for LBSD services using large bands (such as 100m as used by WeChat). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work that explicitly exploits and quantifies user location privacy leakage in band-based LBSD services. Our study is expected to draw more public attention to this serious privacy issue and hopefully motivate better privacy-preserving LBSD designs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2015 IEEE Conference on Computer Communications Workshops, INFOCOM WKSHPS 2015
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages179-184
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781467371315
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 4 2015
EventIEEE Conference on Computer Communications Workshops, INFOCOM WKSHPS 2015 - Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Duration: Apr 26 2015May 1 2015

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE INFOCOM
Volume2015-August
ISSN (Print)0743-166X

Other

OtherIEEE Conference on Computer Communications Workshops, INFOCOM WKSHPS 2015
CountryHong Kong
CityHong Kong
Period4/26/155/1/15

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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