ProxiMate: Proximity-based secure pairing using ambient wireless signals

Suhas Mathur, Robert Miller, Alexander Varshavsky, Wade Trappe, Narayan Mandayam

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

154 Scopus citations

Abstract

Forming secure associations between wireless devices that do not share a prior trust relationship is an important problem. This paper presents ProxiMate, a system that allows wireless devices in proximity to securely pair with one another autonomously by generating a common cryptographic key directly from their shared time-varying wireless environment. The shared key synthesized by ProxiMate can be used by the devices to authenticate each others' physical proximity and then to communicate confidentially. Unlike traditional pairing approaches such as Diffie-Hellman, ProxiMate is secure against a computationally unbounded adversary and its computational complexity is linear in the size of the key. We evaluate ProxiMate using an experimental prototype built using an open-source software-defined platform and demonstrate its effectiveness in generating common secret bits. We further show that it is possible to speed up secret key synthesis by monitoring multiple RF sources simultaneously or by shaking together the devices that need to be paired. Finally, we show that ProxiMate is resistant to even the most powerful attacker who controls the public RF source used by the legitimate devices for pairing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMobiSys'11 - Compilation Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services and Co-located Workshops
Pages211-224
Number of pages14
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011
Event9th International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services, MobiSys'11 and Co-located Workshops - Bethesda, MD, United States
Duration: Jun 28 2011Jul 1 2011

Publication series

NameMobiSys'11 - Compilation Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications and Services and Co-located Workshops

Other

Other9th International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services, MobiSys'11 and Co-located Workshops
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBethesda, MD
Period6/28/117/1/11

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Communication

Keywords

  • information-theoretic secrecy
  • random processes
  • secure pairing
  • wireless channels
  • wireless devices

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