Inferring the Source of Encrypted HTTP Connections


We examine the effectiveness of two traffic analysis techniques for identifying encrypted HTTP streams. The techniques are based upon classification algorithms, identifying encrypted traffic on the basis of similarities to features in a library of known profiles. We show that these profiles need not be collected immediately before the encrypted stream; these methods can be used to identify traffic observed both well before and well after the library is created. We give evidence that these techniques will exhibit the scalability necessary to be effective on the Internet. We examine several methods of actively countering the techniques, and we find that such countermeasures are effective, but at a significant increase in the size of the traffic stream. Our claims are substantiated by experiments and simulation on over 400,000 traffic streams we collected from 2,000 distinct web sites during a two month period.

Proceedings of the ACM conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS)