Security reseachers: Youtube’s encryption reveals viewing behavior

Posted 14 March 2017 18:52 CEST by Jan Willem Aldershoff

Youtube’s encryption contains several security holes that allows hackers and intelligence agencies to track the viewing behavior of users of Google’s video streaming site, security researchers of the Israeli Ben Gurion University warn.

They developed an algorithm that can determine which video an user viewed based on a predefined collection of videos. The algorithm is especially useful to find out whether a target has viewed a suspicious video, e.g. related to terror. For the development of their algorithm, the researchers analyzed how video services like Youtube work, how the video content is encoded and how the video player requests data in order to play it.

According to the researchers it’s unlikely that Google will fix the issues, because it needs to obfuscate each video request of its users, ” Therefore, users must use this platform and other internet video platforms circumspectly,” one of the researchers warns.

Besides finding out which videos an user has watched, it should also be possible to track ads and count how many ads users are exposed to on a given platform, information which can be valuable to internet marketing companies.



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