TRAP: Using Targeted ads to unveil Google personal profiles

Mauro Conti, Vittoria Cozza, Marinella Petrocchi, Angelo Spognardi
2015 2015 IEEE International Workshop on Information Forensics and Security (WIFS)  
In the last decade, the advertisement market spread significantly in the web and mobile app system. Its effectiveness is also due thanks to the possibility to target the advertisement on the specific interests of the actual user, other than on the content of the website hosting the advertisement. In this scenario, became of great value services that collect and hence can provide information about the browsing user, like Facebook and Google. In this paper, we show how to maliciously exploit the
more » ... oogle Targeted Advertising system to infer personal information in Google user profiles. In particular, the attack we consider is external from Google and relies on combining data from Google AdWords with other data collected from a website of the Google Display Network. We validate the effectiveness of our proposed attack, also discussing possible application scenarios. The result of our research shows a significant practical privacy issue behind such type of targeted advertising service, and call for further investigation and the design of more privacy-aware solutions, possibly without impeding the current business model involved in online advertisement.
doi:10.1109/wifs.2015.7368607 dblp:conf/wifs/ContiCPS15 fatcat:54gjqzpw5fhejdxhblujharr7a