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Preserving Privacy in Social Networks Against Neighborhood Attacks

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2 Author(s)
Bin Zhou ; Sch. of Comput. Sci., Simon Fraser Univ., Burnaby, BC ; Jian Pei

Recently, as more and more social network data has been published in one way or another, preserving privacy in publishing social network data becomes an important concern. With some local knowledge about individuals in a social network, an adversary may attack the privacy of some victims easily. Unfortunately, most of the previous studies on privacy preservation can deal with relational data only, and cannot be applied to social network data. In this paper, we take an initiative towards preserving privacy in social network data. We identify an essential type of privacy attacks: neighborhood attacks. If an adversary has some knowledge about the neighbors of a target victim and the relationship among the neighbors, the victim may be re-identified from a social network even if the victim's identity is preserved using the conventional anonymization techniques. We show that the problem is challenging, and present a practical solution to battle neighborhood attacks. The empirical study indicates that anonymized social networks generated by our method can still be used to answer aggregate network queries with high accuracy.

Published in:

Data Engineering, 2008. ICDE 2008. IEEE 24th International Conference on

Date of Conference:

7-12 April 2008