Keren Tan, Jihwang Yeo, Michael E. Locasto, and David Kotz. Catch, Clean, and Release: A Survey of Obstacles and Opportunities for Network Trace Sanitization. In Francesco Bonchi and Elena Ferrari. editors, Privacy-Aware Knowledge Discovery: Novel Applications and New Techniques, chapter 5, Chapman and Hall/CRC Press, January 2011.

Abstract: Network researchers benefit tremendously from access to traces of production networks, and several repositories of such network traces exist. By their very nature, these traces capture sensitive business and personal activity. Furthermore, network traces contain significant operational information about the target network, such as its structure, identity of the network provider, or addresses of important servers. To protect private or proprietary information, researchers must ``sanitize'' a trace before sharing it.

In this chapter, we survey the growing body of research that addresses the risks, methods, and evaluation of network trace sanitization. Research on the risks of network trace sanitization attempts to extract information from published network traces, while research on sanitization methods investigates approaches that may protect against such attacks. Although researchers have recently proposed both quantitative and qualitative methods to evaluate the effectiveness of sanitization methods, such work has several shortcomings, some of which we highlight in a discussion of open problems. Sanitizing a network trace, however challenging, remains an important method for advancing network-based research.


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