Mitigating browser fingerprint tracking: multi-level reconfiguration and diversification

Pierre Laperdrix 1 Walter Rudametkin 2, 3 Benoit Baudry 1
1 DiverSe - Diversity-centric Software Engineering
Inria Rennes – Bretagne Atlantique , IRISA-D4 - LANGAGE ET GÉNIE LOGICIEL
2 SPIRALS - Self-adaptation for distributed services and large software systems
Inria Lille - Nord Europe, CRIStAL - Centre de Recherche en Informatique, Signal et Automatique de Lille (CRIStAL) - UMR 9189
Abstract : The diversity of software components (e.g., browsers, plugins, fonts) is a wonderful opportunity for users to customize their platforms. Yet, massive customization creates a privacy issue: browsers are slightly different from one another, allowing third parties to collect unique and stable fingerprints to track users. Although software diversity appears to be the source of this privacy issue, we claim that this same diversity, combined with automatic reconfiguration, provides the essential ingredients to constantly change browsing platforms. Constant change acts as a moving target defense strategy against fingerprint tracking by breaking one essential property: stability over time. We leverage virtualization and modular architectures to automatically assemble and reconfigure software components at multiple levels. We operate on operating systems, browsers, fonts and plugins. This work is the first application of software reconfiguration to build a moving target defense against browser fingerprint tracking. The main objective is to automatically modify the fingerprint a platform exhibits. We have developed a prototype called Blink to experiment the effectiveness of our approach at randomizing fingerprints. We have assembled and reconfigured thousands of platforms, and we observe that all of them exhibit different fingerprints, and that commercial fingerprinting solutions are not able to detect that the different platforms actually correspond to a single user.
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Pierre Laperdrix, Walter Rudametkin, Benoit Baudry. Mitigating browser fingerprint tracking: multi-level reconfiguration and diversification. Proceedings of the IEEE/ACM 10th International Symposium on Software Engineering for Adaptive and Self-Managing Systems (SEAMS), May 2015, Firenze, Italy. pp.98-108. ⟨hal-01121108⟩

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