Position paper: A systematic framework for categorising IoT device fingerprinting mechanisms

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The popularity of the Internet of Things (IoT) devices makes it increasingly important to be able to fingerprint them, for example in order to detect if there are misbehaving or even malicious IoT devices in one's network. However, there are many challenges faced in the task of fingerprinting IoT devices, mainly due to the huge variety of the devices involved. At the same time, the task can potentially be improved by applying machine learning techniques for better accuracy and efficiency.

The aim of this paper is to provide a systematic categorisation of machine learning augmented techniques that can be used for fingerprinting IoT devices. This can serve as a baseline for comparing various IoT fingerprinting mechanisms, so that network administrators can choose one or more mechanisms that are appropriate for monitoring and maintaining their network.

We carried out an extensive literature review of existing papers on fingerprinting IoT devices -- paying close attention to those with machine learning features. This is followed by an extraction of important and comparable features among the mechanisms outlined in those papers.

As a result, we came up with a key set of terminologies that are relevant both in the fingerprinting context and in the IoT domain. This enabled us to construct a framework called IDWork, which can be used for categorising existing IoT fingerprinting mechanisms in a way that will facilitate a coherent and fair comparison of these mechanisms.

We found that the majority of the IoT fingerprinting mechanisms take a passive approach -- mainly through network sniffing -- instead of being intrusive and interactive with the device of interest. Additionally, a significant number of the surveyed mechanisms employ both static and dynamic approaches, in order to benefit from complementary features that can be more robust against certain attacks such as spoofing and replay attacks.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAIChallengeIoT '20: Proceedings of the 2nd International Workshop on Challenges in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for Internet of Things
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-8134-5
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2020
EventWorkshop on Challenges in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for Internet of Things - Virtual (online)
Duration: 16 Nov 2020 → …

Publication series

NameACM AIChallengeIoT (Sensys 2020)


WorkshopWorkshop on Challenges in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for Internet of Things
Abbreviated titleAIChallengeIoT 2020
Period16/11/20 → …
Internet address

Bibliographical note

7 pages, 2 figures, Accepted in ACM/IEEE AIChallengeIoT 2020


  • Internet of things (IoT)
  • device fingerprinting
  • security
  • authentication
  • device identification
  • network traffic analysis
  • machine learning
  • survey

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