Best Poster – MobiCom’18

Tim Pierson’s dissertation work resulted in an innovative method for single-antenna Wi-Fi devices (like many mHealth devices, medical devices, or those in the IoT) to determine with strong confidence whether a Wi-Fi transmitter is close by (within a few centimeters).  This proximity detector can be the basis for trustworthy relationships between devices.   A poster paper about this idea just won the best-poster award at MobiCom 2018, and the full paper was just accepted for presentation at MobiCom 2019. See below for the abstract, or check out the corresponding three-page paper.poster award

Abstract:

Close physical proximity among wireless devices that have never shared a secret key is sometimes used as a basis of trust.  In these cases, devices in close proximity are deemed trustworthy while more distant devices are viewed as potential adversaries.

Because radio waves are invisible, however, a user may believe a wireless device is communicating with a nearby device when in fact the user’s device is communicating with a distant adversary.  Researchers have previously proposed methods for multi-antenna devices to ascertain physical proximity with other devices, but devices with a single antenna, such as those commonly used in the Internet of Things, cannot take advantage of these techniques.

We investigate a method for a single-antenna Wi-Fi device to quickly determine proximity with another Wi-Fi device.  Our approach leverages the repeating nature Wi-Fi’s preamble and the characteristics of a transmitting antenna’s near field to detect proximity with high probability.  Our method never falsely declares proximity at ranges longer than 14 cm. 

poster

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About David Kotz

David Kotz is the Champion International Professor in the Department of Computer Science. He previously served as Interim Provost, as Associate Dean of the Faculty for the Sciences, as the Executive Director of the Institute for Security Technology Studies, and on the US Healthcare IT Policy Committee. His research interests include security and privacy, pervasive computing for healthcare, and wireless networks. He has published over 175 refereed journal and conference papers and obtained over $66m in grant funding. He is an Fellow of the IEEE, a Distinguished Member of the ACM, a 2008 Fulbright Fellow to India, and an elected member of Phi Beta Kappa. After receiving his A.B. in Computer Science and Physics from Dartmouth in 1986, he completed his Ph.D in Computer Science from Duke University in 1991 and returned to Dartmouth to join the faculty. For more information see http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~dfk/.

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