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Conference Papers Year : 2012

You Are What You Like! Information Leakage Through Users' Interests


Suppose that a Facebook user, whose age is hidden or missing, likes Britney Spears. Can you guess his/her age? Knowing that most Britney fans are teenagers, it is fairly easy for humans to answer this question. Interests (or "likes") of users is one of the highly-available on-line information. In this paper, we show how these seemingly harmless interests (e.g., music interests) can leak privacy sensitive information about users. In particular, we infer their undisclosed (private) attributes using the public attributes of other users sharing similar interests. In order to compare user-defined interest names, we extract their semantics using an ontologized version of Wikipedia and measure their similarity by applying a statistical learning method. Besides self-declared interests in music, our technique does not rely on any further information about users such as friend relationships or group belongings. Our experiments, based on more than 104K public profiles collected from Facebook and more than 2000 private profiles provided by volunteers, show that our inference technique efficiently predicts attributes that are very often hidden by users. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that user interests are used for profiling, and more generally, semantics-driven inference of private data is addressed.
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Dates and versions

hal-00748162 , version 1 (05-11-2012)


  • HAL Id : hal-00748162 , version 1


Abdelberi Chaabane, Gergely Acs, Mohamed Ali Kaafar. You Are What You Like! Information Leakage Through Users' Interests. NDSS Symposium 2012 - 19th Annual Network and Distributed System Security Symposium, Feb 2012, San Diego, United States. pp.1-14. ⟨hal-00748162⟩
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