VibeRing: Using vibrations from a smart ring as an out-of-band channel for sharing secret keys


Sougata Sen and David Kotz. VibeRing: Using vibrations from a smart ring as an out-of-band channel for sharing secret keys. Proceedings of the International Conference on the Internet of Things (IoT), article 13, 8 pages. ACM, October 2020. doi:10.1145/3410992.3410995. ISBN13: 9781450387583. ©Copyright ACM. Nominated for Best-Paper award.


With the rapid growth in the number of IoT devices that have wireless communication capabilities, and sensitive information collection capabilities, it is becoming increasingly necessary to ensure that these devices communicate securely with only authorized devices. A major requirement of this secure communication is to ensure that both the devices share a secret, which can be used for secure pairing and encrypted communication. Manually imparting this secret to these devices becomes an unnecessary overhead, especially when the device interaction is transient. In this paper, we empirically investigate the possibility of using an out-of-band communication channel -- vibration, generated by a custom smart ring, to share a secret with a smart IoT device. This exchanged secret can be used to bootstrap a secure wireless channel over which the devices can communicate. We believe that in future IoT devices can use such a technique to seamlessly connect with authorized devices with minimal user interaction overhead. In this paper, we specifically investigate (a) the feasibility of using vibration generated by a custom wearable for communication, (b) the effect of various parameters on this communication channel, and (c) the possibility of information manipulation by an adversary or information leakage to an adversary. For this investigation, we conducted a controlled study as well as a user study with 12 participants. In the controlled study, we could successfully share messages through vibrations with a bit error rate of less than 2.5%. Additionally, through the user study we demonstrate that it is possible to share messages with various types of objects accurately, quickly and securely as compared to several existing techniques. Overall, we find that in the best case we can exchange 85.9% messages successfully with a smart device.

Citable with [BibTeX]

Projects: [thaw]

Keywords: [authentication] [iot] [mhealth] [privacy] [security] [sensors] [wearable]

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