ZKSENSE: a Privacy-Preserving Mechanism for Bot Detection in Mobile Devices [article]

Panagiotis Papadopoulos, Iñigo Querejeta-Azurmendi, Jiexin Zhang, Matteo Varvello, Antonio Nappa, Benjamin Livshits
2020 arXiv   pre-print
Recent studies show that 20.4% of the internet traffic originates from automated agents. To identify and block such ill-intentioned traffic, mechanisms that verify the humanness of the user are widely deployed across the internet. CAPTCHA is the most popular among such mechanisms. Original CAPTCHAs require extra user effort (e.g., solving mathematical or image-based puzzles), which severely harms user's experience, especially on mobile, and provide only sporadic verification of their humanness.
more » ... More recent solutions like Google's reCAPTCHA v3 leverage attestation data (e.g., user behavioral data, device fingerprints) shared with a remote server, thus raising significant privacy concerns. To address all of the above, we present ZKSENSE: the first zero knowledge proof-based humanness attestation system designed for mobile devices. Contrary to state-of-the-art systems, ZKSENSE assesses humanness continuously on the background in a privacy preserving way. ZKSENSE achieves that by classifying the motion sensor outputs of the mobile device based on a model trained by using both publicly available sensor data and data collected from a small group of volunteers. The classification result is enclosed in a zero knowledge proof of humanness that can be safely shared with an attestation service such as Privacy Pass. We implement ZKSENSE as an Android service to demonstrate its effectiveness and practicability. In our evaluation, we show that ZKSENSE verifies the humanness of the users asynchronously, on the background, without degrading their experience or jeopardizing user privacy, while it achieves 91% accuracy across a variety of attack scenarios. On a two years old Samsung S9, each attestation takes around 3 seconds in total (when visual CAPTCHAs need 9.8 seconds) and consumes a negligible amount of battery.
arXiv:1911.07649v3 fatcat:uez57nwx4jah7gk5mx4kbrxa4m