Classification of smartphone users using internet traffic

Andrey Finkelstein, Ron Biton, Rami Puzis, Asaf Shabtai

arXiv preprint arXiv:1701.00220, 2017

Today, smartphone devices are owned by a large portion of the population and have become a very popular platform for accessing the Internet. Smartphones provide the user with immediate access to information and services. However, they can easily expose the user to many privacy risks. Applications that are installed on the device and entities with access to the device’s Internet traffic can reveal private information about the smartphone user and steal sensitive content stored on the device or transmitted by the device over the Internet. In this paper, we present a method to reveal various demographics and technical computer skills of smartphone users by their Internet traffic records, using machine learning classification models. We implement and evaluate the method on real life data of smartphone users and show that smartphone users can be classified by their gender, smoking habits, software programming experience, and other characteristics.