Smartphone Privacy Leakage of Social Relationships and Demographics from Surrounding Access Points
Chen Wang, Chuyu Wang, Yingying Chen, Lei Xie and Sanglu Lu
Stevens Institute of Technology, Stevens Institute of Technology, Stevens Institute of Technology, Nanjing University, Nanjing University

While the mobile users enjoy the anytime anywhere Internet access by connecting their mobile devices through Wi-Fi services, the increasing deployment of access points (APs) have raised a number of privacy concerns. This paper explores the potential of smartphone privacy leakage caused by surrounding APs. In particular, we study to what extent the users personal information such as social relationships and demographics could be revealed leveraging simple signal information from APs without examining the Wi-Fi traffic. Our approach utilizes users activities at daily visited places derived from the surrounding APs to infer users social interactions and individual behaviors. Furthermore, we develop two new mechanisms: the Closeness-based Social Relationships Inference algorithm captures how closely people interact with each other by evaluating their physical closeness and derives fine-grained social relationships, whereas the Behavior-based Demographics Inference method differentiates various individual behaviors via the extracted activity features (e.g., activeness and time slots) at each daily place to reveal users demographics. Extensive experiments conducted with 21 participants real daily life including 257 different places in three cities over a 6-month period demonstrate that the simple signal information from surrounding APs have a high potential to reveal peoples social relationships and infer demographics with an over 90% accuracy when using our approach.