You Are How You Query: Deriving Behavioral Fingerprints From DNS Traffic

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Conference Proceeding

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As the Domain Name System (DNS) plays an indispensable role in a large number of network applications including those used for malicious purposes, collecting and sharing DNS traffic from real networks are highly desired for a variety of purposes such as measurements and system evaluation. However, information leakage through the collected network traffic raises significant privacy concerns and DNS traffic is not an exception. In this paper, we study a new privacy risk introduced by passively collected DNS traffic. We intend to derive behavioral fingerprints from DNS traces, where each behavioral fingerprint targets at uniquely identifying its corresponding user and being immune to the change of time. We have proposed a set of new patterns, which collectively form behavioral fingerprints by characterizing a user’s DNS activities through three different perspectives including the domain name, the inter-domain relationship, and domains’ temporal behavior. We have also built a distributed system, namely DNSMiner, to automatically derive DNS-based behavioral fingerprints from a massive amount of DNS traces. We have performed extensive evaluation based on a large volume of DNS queries collected from a large campus network across two weeks. The evaluation results have demonstrated that a significant percentage of network users with persistent DNS activities are likely to have DNS behavioral fingerprints.



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