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Information Exposure From Consumer IoT Devices: A Multidimensional Network-Informed Approach

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Abstract: The Internet of Things (IoT) is now a reality and many challenging issues still need to be addressed. One of this is to guarantee trust, privacy, and security. Privacy has become particularly pertinent after the initiative of the European Commission (EC) about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Since it has been demonstrated that ensuring privacy relying on the cloud creates risks of privacy violation, we propose to work at the edge. We first build an open access and flexible hardware platform for measurements and custom experimentation on IoT environment. The platform is composed by 87 IoT devices distributed in different locations and backend servers for collecting data. The platform allows to monitor and control the measurement process, and most important ensuring repeatability on the measurements and controlling context information. Through a total of 34,586 rigorous automated and manual controlled experiments, we characterize information exposure in terms of destinations of Internet traffic, whether the contents of communication are protected by encryption, what are the IoT-device interactions that can be inferred from such content, and whether there are unexpected exposures of private and/or sensitive information (e.g., video surreptitiously transmitted by a recording device). We highlight regional differences between these results, potentially due to different privacy regulations in the US and UK. Results will help companies to not accumulate personal data except what they actually require, in order to comply with the GDPR and give control back to the user.

Bio: Anna Maria Mandalari is a research associate in the Dyson School of Design Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering at Imperial College London. Over the last four years she was a METRICS Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher affiliated with the University Carlos III of Madrid (UC3M). Her research interests are related to IoT, privacy, large-scale Internet measurements, Internet measurement platforms, middleboxes and new Internet protocols.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Systems Research Group Seminar series.

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