Towards Graph Watermarks

Xiaohan Zhao
Qingyun Liu
Haitao Zheng
Ben Y. Zhao

Proceedings of ACM Conference on Online Social Networks (COSN 2015)

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Paper Abstract

From network topologies to online social networks, many of today's most sensitive datasets are captured in large graphs. A significant challenge facing the data owners is how to share sensitive graphs with collaborators or authorized users, e.g. ISP's network topology graphs with a third party networking equipment vendor. Current tools can provide limited node or edge privacy, but significantly modify the graph reducing its utility. In this work, we propose a new alternative in the form of graph watermarks. Graph watermarks are small graphs tailor-made for a given graph dataset, a secure graph key, and a secure user key. To share a sensitive graph G with a collaborator C, the owner generates a watermark graph W using G, the graph key, and C's key as input, and embeds W into G to form G'. If G' is leaked by C, its owner can reliably determine if the watermark W generated for C does in fact reside inside G', thereby proving C is responsible for the leak. Graph watermarks serve both as a deterrent against data leakage and a method of recourse after a leak. We provide robust schemes for embedding and extracting watermarks, and use analysis and experiments on large real graphs to show that they are unique and difficult to forge. We study the robustness of graph watermarks against both single and powerful colluding attacker models, then propose and evaluate mechanisms to dramatically improve resilience