FingerprinTV: Fingerprinting Smart TV Apps

Authors: Janus Varmarken (University of California, Irvine), Jad Al Aaraj (University of California, Irvine), Rahmadi Trimananda (University of California, Irvine), Athina Markopoulou (University of California, Irvine)

Volume: 2022
Issue: 3
Pages: 606–629


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Abstract: This paper proposes FingerprinTV, a fully automated methodology for extracting fingerprints from the network traffic of smart TV apps and assessing their performance. FingerprinTV (1) installs, repeatedly launches, and collects network traffic from smart TV apps; (2) extracts three different types of network fingerprints for each app, i.e., domain-based fingerprints (DBF), packet-pair-based fingerprints (PBF), and TLS-based fingerprints (TBF); and (3) analyzes the extracted fingerprints in terms of their prevalence, distinctiveness, and sizes. From applying FingerprinTV to the top-1000 apps of the three most popular smart TV platforms, we find that smart TV app network fingerprinting is feasible and effective: even the least prevalent type of fingerprint manifests itself in at least 68% of apps of each platform, and up to 89% of fingerprints uniquely identify a specific app when two fingerprinting techniques are used together. By analyzing apps that exhibit identical fingerprints, we find that these apps often stem from the same developer or “no code” app generation toolkit. Furthermore, we show that many apps that are present on all three platforms exhibit platformspecific fingerprints.

Keywords: Smart TV, connected TV, network measurement, privacy, fingerprinting

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