You Are What You Broadcast: Identification of Mobile and IoT Devices from (Public) WiFi


Lingjing Yu, Institute of Information Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences; School of Cybersecurity, University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences; Bo Luo, The University of Kansas; Jun Ma, Tsinghua University; Zhaoyu Zhou and Qingyun Liu, Institute of Information Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences


With the rapid growth of mobile devices and WiFi hotspots, security risks arise. In practice, it is critical for administrators of corporate and public wireless networks to identify the type and/or model of devices connected to the network, in order to set access/firewall rules, to check for known vulnerabilities, or to configure IDS accordingly. Mobile devices are not obligated to report their detailed identities when they join a (public) wireless network, while adversaries could easily forge device attributes. In the literature, efforts have been made to utilize features from network traffic for device identification. In this paper, we present OWL, a novel device identification mechanism for both network administrators and normal users. We first extract network traffic features from passively received broadcast and multicast (BC/MC) packets. Embedding representations are learned to model features into six independent and complementary views. We then present a new multi-view wide and deep learning (MvWDL) framework that is optimized on both generalization performance and label-view interaction performance. Meanwhile, a malicious device detection mechanism is designed to assess the inconsistencies across views in the multi-view classifier to identify anomalies. Finally, we demonstrate OWL's performance through experiments, case studies, and qualitative analysis.

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@inproceedings {255244,
author = {Lingjing Yu and Bo Luo and Jun Ma and Zhaoyu Zhou and Qingyun Liu},
title = {You Are What You Broadcast: Identification of Mobile and {IoT} Devices from (Public) {WiFi}},
booktitle = {29th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 20)},
year = {2020},
isbn = {978-1-939133-17-5},
pages = {55--72},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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