Mind the plug! Laptop-user recognition through power consumption


The Internet of Things (IoT) paradigm, in conjunction with the one of smart cities, is pursuing toward the concept of smart buildings, i.e., ‘intelligent’ buildings able to receive data from a network of sensors and thus to adapt the environment. IoT sensors can monitor a wide range of environmental features such as the energy consumption inside a building at fine-grained level (e.g., for a specific wall-socket). Some smart buildings already deploy energy monitoring in order to optimize the energy use for good purposes (e.g., to save money, to reduce pollution). Unfortunately, such measurements raise a significant amount of privacy concerns. In this paper, we investigate the feasibility of recognizing the pair laptop-user (i.e., a user using her own laptop) from the energy traces produced by her laptop. We design MTPlug, a framework that achieves this goal relying on supervised machine learning techniques as pattern recognition in multivariate time series. We present a comprehensive implementation of this system and run a thorough set of experiments. In particular, we collected data by monitoring the energy consumption of two groups of laptop users, some office employees and some intruders, for a total of 27 people. We show that our system is able to build an energy profile for a laptop user with accuracy above 80%, in less than 3.5 hours of laptop usage. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first research that assesses the feasibility of laptop users profiling relying uniquely on fine-grained energy traces collected using wall-socket smart meters.

ACM International Workshop on IoT Privacy, Trust, and Security