What's in the community cookie jar?

Aaron Cahn, Scott Alfeld, Paul Barford, S. Muthukrishnan

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

Abstract

Third party tracking of user behavior via web cookies represents a privacy threat. In this paper we assess this threat through an analysis of anonymized, crowdsourced cookie data provided by Cookiepedia.co.uk. We find that nearly 45% of the cookies in the corpus are from Facebook and of the remaining cookies 25% come from 10 distinct domains. Over 65% are Maximal Permission cookies (i.e., 3rd party, non-secure, persistent, root-level). Cookiepedia's anonymization of user data presents challenges with respect to modeling site traffic. We further elucidate the privacy issue by conducting targeted crawling campaigns to supplement the Cookiepedia data. We find that the amount of traffic obscured by Cookiepedia's anonymizing procedure varies dramatically from site to site - sometimes obscuring as much as 80% of traffic. We use the crawls to infer the inverse function of the anonymizing procedure, allowing us to enhance the crowdsourced dataset while maintaining user anonymity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2016 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2016
EditorsRavi Kumar, James Caverlee, Hanghang Tong
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages567-570
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781509028467
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 21 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event2016 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2016 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: Aug 18 2016Aug 21 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 2016 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2016

Conference

Conference2016 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2016
CountryUnited States
CitySan Francisco
Period8/18/168/21/16

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Communication

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  • Cite this

    Cahn, A., Alfeld, S., Barford, P., & Muthukrishnan, S. (2016). What's in the community cookie jar? In R. Kumar, J. Caverlee, & H. Tong (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2016 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2016 (pp. 567-570). [7752292] (Proceedings of the 2016 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2016). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1109/ASONAM.2016.7752292