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Comparing and fusing different sensor modalities for relay attack resistance in Zero-Interaction Authentication

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  • H. T. T. Truong
  • Xiang Gao
  • B. Shrestha
  • N. Saxena
  • N. Asokan
  • P. Nurmi
Publication date24/03/2014
Host publication2014 IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications (PerCom)
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781479934454
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Zero-Interaction Authentication (ZIA) refers to approaches that authenticate a user to a verifier (terminal) without any user interaction. Currently deployed ZIA solutions are predominantly based on the terminal detecting the proximity of the user's personal device, or a security token, by running an authentication protocol over a short-range wireless communication channel. Unfortunately, this simple approach is highly vulnerable to low-cost and practical relay attacks which completely offset the usability benefits of ZIA. The use of contextual information, gathered via on-board sensors, to detect the co-presence of the user and the verifier is a recently proposed mechanism to resist relay attacks. In this paper, we systematically investigate the performance of different sensor modalities for co-presence detection with respect to a standard Dolev-Yao adversary. First, using a common data collection framework run in realistic everyday settings, we compare the performance of four commonly available sensor modalities (WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and Audio) in resisting ZIA relay attacks, and find that WiFi is better than the rest. Second, we show that, compared to any single modality, fusing multiple modalities improves resilience against ZIA relay attacks while retaining a high level of usability. Third, we motivate the need for a stronger adversarial model to characterize an attacker who can compromise the integrity of context sensing itself. We show that in the presence of such a powerful attacker, each individual sensor modality offers very low security. Positively, the use of multiple sensor modalities improves security against such an attacker if the attacker cannot compromise multiple modalities simultaneously.