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Conference Paper
Giulia Fanti, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Peter Kairouz, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Sewoong Oh, University of at Urbana-Champaign, Kannan Ramchandra, University of California, Berkeley, Pramod Viswanath, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  2016.  Metadata-conscious Anonymous Messaging. International Conference on Machine Learning.

Anonymous messaging platforms like Whisper and Yik Yak allow users to spread messages over a network (e.g., a social network) without revealing message authorship to other users. The spread of messages on these platforms can be modeled by a diffusion process over a graph. Recent advances in network analysis have revealed that such diffusion processes are vulnerable to author deanonymization by adversaries with access to metadata, such as timing information. In this work, we ask the fundamental question of how to propagate anonymous messages over a graph to make it difficult for adversaries to infer the source. In particular, we study the performance of a message propagation protocol called adaptive diffusion introduced in (Fanti et al., 2015). We prove that when the adversary has access to metadata at a fraction of corrupted graph nodes, adaptive diffusion achieves asymptotically optimal source-hiding and significantly outperforms standard diffusion. We further demonstrate empirically that adaptive diffusion hides the source effectively on real social networks.
 

Giulia Fanti, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Peter Kairouz, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Sewoong Oh, University of at Urbana-Champaign, Kannan Ramchandra, University of California, Berkeley, Pramod Viswanath, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  2016.  Rumor Source Obfuscation on Irregular Trees. ACM SIGMETRICS.

Anonymous messaging applications have recently gained popularity as a means for sharing opinions without fear of judgment or repercussion. These messages propagate anonymously over a network, typically de ned by social connections or physical proximity. However, recent advances in rumor source detection show that the source of such an anonymous message can be inferred by certain statistical inference attacks. Adaptive di usion was recently proposed as a solution that achieves optimal source obfuscation over regular trees. However, in real social networks, the degrees difer from node to node, and adaptive di usion can be signicantly sub-optimal. This gap increases as the degrees become more irregular.

In order to quantify this gap, we model the underlying network as coming from standard branching processes with i.i.d. degree distributions. Building upon the analysis techniques from branching processes, we give an analytical characterization of the dependence of the probability of detection achieved by adaptive di usion on the degree distribution. Further, this analysis provides a key insight: passing a rumor to a friend who has many friends makes the source more ambiguous. This leads to a new family of protocols that we call Preferential Attachment Adaptive Di usion (PAAD). When messages are propagated according to PAAD, we give both the MAP estimator for nding the source and also an analysis of the probability of detection achieved by this adversary. The analytical results are not directly comparable, since the adversary's observed information has a di erent distribution under adaptive di usion than under PAAD. Instead, we present results from numerical experiments that suggest that PAAD achieves a lower probability of detection, at the cost of increased communication for coordination.