Beauty and the Burst: Remote Identification of Encrypted Video Streams


Roei Schuster, Tel Aviv University, Cornell Tech; Vitaly Shmatikov, Cornell Tech; Eran Tromer, Tel Aviv University, Columbia University


The MPEG-DASH streaming video standard contains an information leak: even if the stream is encrypted, the segmentation prescribed by the standard causes content-dependent packet bursts. We show that many video streams are uniquely characterized by their burst patterns, and classifiers based on convolutional neural networks can accurately identify these patterns given very coarse network measurements. We demonstrate that this attack can be performed even by a Web attacker who does not directly observe the stream, e.g., a JavaScript ad confined in a Web browser on a nearby machine.

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@inproceedings {203850,
author = {Roei Schuster and Vitaly Shmatikov and Eran Tromer},
title = {Beauty and the Burst: Remote Identification of Encrypted Video Streams},
booktitle = {26th {USENIX} Security Symposium ({USENIX} Security 17)},
year = {2017},
isbn = {978-1-931971-40-9},
address = {Vancouver, BC},
pages = {1357--1374},
url = {},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},