Practical anonymity models on protecting private weighted graphs

Yidong Li, Hong Shen, Congyan Lang, Hairong Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Identity disclosure control (IDC) on graph data has attracted increasing interest in security and database communities. Most existing work focuses on preventing identity disclosure derivable from certain structural information in unweighted graphs. In weighted graphs, when the weight of an edge implying relevance/association between its adjacency vertices is taken into account, this problem becomes more complex due to the diversity of weight-related information which may expose to many types of background knowledge attacks and hence significantly increases the time complexity for preventing privacy breaches. This paper systematically studies IDC in weighted graphs, which has no known solution to our knowledge, by employing elementary weight invariants as background knowledge. We propose a general anonymity model against weight-related attacks, and introduce a new utility metric based on spectral graph theory. Then we distinguish two types of practical breaches, namely volume and histogram attack, which the adversary has the knowledge of the sum and the set of adjacent weights for each vertex respectively. We propose an efficient method for volume anonymization, and a heuristic scheme for histogram anonymization which we show to be NP-hard. We show how to construct the graph under these anonymized properties to protect a graph from both attacks. Our approaches are effective in terms of efficiency and data utility preservation: run in near-quadratic time on graph size, and preserve a similar utility as the original graph. The performances of the algorithms have been validated by extensive experiments on both synthetic and real-world datasets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-370
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Anonymity
  • Privacy preserving graph mining
  • Weight anonymization
  • Weighted graph


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