Subverting Website Fingerprinting Defenses with Robust Traffic Representation


Meng Shen, School of Cyberspace Science and Technology, Beijing Institute of Technology; Kexin Ji and Zhenbo Gao, School of Computer Science, Beijing Institute of Technology; Qi Li, Institute for Network Sciences and Cyberspace, Tsinghua University; Liehuang Zhu, School of Cyberspace Science and Technology, Beijing Institute of Technology; Ke Xu, Department of Computer Science and Technology, Tsinghua University


Anonymity networks, e.g., Tor, are vulnerable to various website fingerprinting (WF) attacks, which allows attackers to perceive user privacy on these networks. However, the defenses developed recently can effectively interfere with WF attacks, e.g., by simply injecting dummy packets. In this paper, we propose a novel WF attack called Robust Fingerprinting (RF), which enables an attacker to fingerprint the Tor traffic under various defenses. Specifically, we develop a robust traffic representation method that generates Traffic Aggregation Matrix (TAM) to fully capture key informative features leaked from Tor traces. By utilizing TAM, an attacker can train a CNN-based classifier that learns common high-level traffic features uncovered by different defenses. We conduct extensive experiments with public real-world datasets to compare RF with state-of-the-art (SOTA) WF attacks. The closed- and open-world evaluation results demonstrate that RF significantly outperforms the SOTA attacks. In particular, RF can effectively fingerprint Tor traffic under the SOTA defenses with an average accuracy improvement of 8.9% over the best existing attack (i.e., Tik-Tok).

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@inproceedings {287396,
author = {Meng Shen and Kexin Ji and Zhenbo Gao and Qi Li and Liehuang Zhu and Ke Xu},
title = {Subverting Website Fingerprinting Defenses with Robust Traffic Representation},
booktitle = {32nd USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 23)},
year = {2023},
isbn = {978-1-939133-37-3},
address = {Anaheim, CA},
pages = {607--624},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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